Apr 11

A Visit to Half Moon Bay, Sam’s Chowder House & Princeton Seafood Company

We did a family trip to Half Moon Bay and decided to go to Sam’s Chowder House. I’ve been here in the past and I didn’t love it, but they do have great oceanfront views! We actually wanted to go to Princeton Seafood Company but they are located at the Pillar Point Harbor and do not offer views. Our main goal was for my mom to get some delicious clam chowder! So we went to both locations for clam chowder and had a comparison!

It was a Saturday and when we got to Sam’s Chowder House it was full, we had the options to sit near the bar on bar stools , sit outdoors or wait for an hour! At first we were going to sit indoors since it was freezing, but when we walked outside while they were setting up our table at the bar area, we realized it was actually warm when the sun shined and the restaurant was blocking the cold wind, so we ended up outside instead. There are actually heaters outside, we weren’t in that area but the sun definitely helped!

We were supposed to come here for a snack only since we wanted to make a stop at the Princeton Seafood Company, but we ordered more than expected, everything on the menu sounded good! Of course we ordered everything to be served family style so that we could try a bit of everything.  We ordered 2 bowls of New England Clam Chowder, 1 bowl of Manhattan Clam Chowder, the Fried Pacific Oysters, the Crispy Polenta Fries, Sam’s Crab Louis and 2 Maine Lobster Rolls!

We didn’t know how big the bowls were going to be, but when we got them, we realized they were HUGE! The New England Clam Chowder with little neck clams, Yukon gold potatoes, smoked bacon and cream was good, you can definitely taste the cream! I thought the tomato-based Manhattan Clam Chowder was too salty. The plump Fried Pacific Oysters were juicy and fresh, my mom wanted this and really enjoyed it! The Crispy Polenta Fries, which was my sister’s pick, was impressive and I really liked the light cheesy flavor. I loved the combination of the Sam’s Crab Louis,  served with lots of fresh dungeness crab, crunchy Fuji apple, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, hard cooked egg and Louis dressing! It was a refreshing salad  since we had a lot of fried dishes! And drum rolls please…..the Maine Lobster Roll with butter on a toasted bun served with chips and coleslaw, well… it was topped and covered with buttery lobster on the toasty buttery bun! Okay, I think that if I never tried the lobster roll in New York at Pearl Oyster Bar, then I wouldn’t have known how good a lobster roll can possibly be.  Maybe I’ve been too hard on the lobster roll at Sam’s Chowder House, maybe I shouldn’t compare, and maybe Sam’s is considered the more contemporary Californian way of serving a lobster roll. I am not saying that their lobster roll is bad, but what the hell happened to the mayonnaise?!  Overall, if you love lobster, you will enjoy it!  I would also like to add that from my understanding, the cole slaw was very good too.  I’m not a fan, but everyone else mentioned that it was one of the best cole slaw they’ve ever had.

After this so called snack, we went to the Pillar Point Harbor, not to eat right away, but to walk off what we ate so that we could make room for our next snack. We walked around, saw fisherman’s selling on their boats, there were crabs and humongous halibuts!  After strolling around, it was time for some food at the Princeton Seafood Company. They actually have an outside window to the restaurant where they sell quick to go items, they also have a few picnic tables with benches for seating. We ordered a bowl of Clam Chowder and Deep Fried Clam Strips served with fries!  Okay, I like the Clam Chowder here, it is less creamy, but less cream means more clammy seafood flavors! The Deep Fried Clam Strips were not bad, but the clams were so tiny (which is usually the case with this fried goodness), it’s one of those fried items where you can taste the flavors of a clam but just can’t see it!

It was a great day in the Half Moon Bay, we accomplished what we wanted, which was to eat our seafood hearts out!