Saturday, June 9, 2012

Branford Restaurant Week 2012 - U.S.S. Chowder Pot III

This is the fifth, and final review, of a multi-part-series on Branford Restaurant Week
Today we decided to participate in restaurant week's dinner offerings and chose the cowboy's all-time favorite place to go on a Saturday night, the U.S.S. Chowder Pot III.  

The Chowder Pot is a popular Branford restaurant and nightclub specializing in seafood, of course, but is equally well known for their great cuts of beef.  The restaurant has two locations, in Hartford (U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV) and Branford (U.S.S. Chowder Pot III), and are owned and operated by Jon and Debbie Smith.  I'm one of the few people who remember when Jon ran a little stand down in Stony Creek by the town dock, the original, Chowder Pot I.

We decided to leave a little early (oh gawd. we must be getting old!) to beat the rush and left to be there at 4pm when dinner begins.  However, we also frequent the restaurant enough to know that they honor "call-ahead reservations" so , if you call and tell them you're on your way, they'll let you know how long the wait is, and give you your number on the docket for a reservation.  Many a time we've called, been given our reservation number over the phone, walked in with a number that put us at the head of the line, and been seated almost immediately. DO IT!  It's worth the few seconds to make the call!

Because we were early birds (don't judge - chuckle) we were seated immediately and welcomed by our friendly server Andrea.  We hemmed and hawed about what to order because once you walk into the Chowder Pot you smell so many wonderful aromas that you can't decide whether you want fried, baked, or broiled.  Or seafood or beef.  The cowboy decided to order off the menu because now he was HUNGRY and wanted the extra hearty size of Prime Rib.

Of course, I'm sticking with restaurant week and ordered off of Chowder Pot III's Restaurant Week menu from the dinner section. As I'm sure you know, nineteen establishments in Branford are participating the week of Sunday, June 3rd through Saturday, June 9th, most offering both lunch ($16.44) and dinner ($29.00) three course prix fixe menus.  And the connection to 1644?  It was the year that Branford, CT was [permanently] settled.

Oh!  Before I you know about the Chowder Pot's home baked bread?  All dinner patrons are treated to this lovely loaf from heaven, fresh baked, and drizzled with a thick coating of honey butter.  Soooo good!  Sticky. But good!

The cowboy started with a side garden salad.  
to go along with his Captain's Cut of Prime Rib16 ounces of beef - au jus.  

I started with a Garden Salad and a cup of Rhode Island Clam Chowder.  For those of you not from this neck of the woods (Yes. Really. Did you know people from Ireland, Germany, Ecuador, Great Britain, and Russia read this blogger??), this is a clear broth chowder, made with clams, potatoes, celery, and onions.  New England is the creamy broth, and Manhattan is the tomato-based broth.  

Take a close look at this chowder.  Packed with chunky goodness!

And for my dinner selection.  The piece-de-resist-ance!  I went with the Chowder Pot Lobster Bake: A one-pound steamed lobster with fresh Maine steamers, mussels, and a house made stuffed clam.  And although the menu didn't mention it, there were also some mini corn on the cobs included, as well as french fries! 

The steamers and mussels are in the cheese cloth netting, and there was a bowl of clam broth and some fresh butter for dipping.  Folks, the picture doesn't do the plate justice.  It was perfectly presented!  

For dessert, I couldn't decide between the cherries or strawberries to top my cheesecake and made the ever so helpful Andrea, our server, decide for me!  She said the cherries are wonderful, but that the fresh sliced strawberries looked extra good today.  
So here's a picture of my final course of Branford Restaurant Week 2012:  N.Y.Y. Cheesecake with Strawberries ala' Andrea (!!) with coffee.   (Not really NYY - but they are playing tonight and need all the help they can get.  Cheesecake can't hurt.)

Don't you wish you had some?  (Great choice, Andrea!!!)

Here are some pictures of the U.S.S. Chowder Pot III in Branford, CT located right on Route One with easy access off I-95 exit 56.

Some seating for the the non-early birds (you know, those who neglected to call ahead for reservations!!):

The outside patio

The bar and lounge area

The front dining room, where we were seated.

The back dining room

And...I have to include the ginourmous lobster.  He lives on the top of the roof!  

Andrea, our Chowder Pot server, told us that she estimates that about 20% of the patrons this week were ordering from the restaurant week menu. I hope you were one of them!  

The cowboy and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for all the feedback we've gotten from this series on Branford Restaurant Week 2012!  So many of you have stopped us on the street, commented, called, or emailed about how much you enjoyed following us during this week's eats-capades!  Please know we have enjoyed visiting with you and sharing our little corner of Branford, as well! 

And a GREAT big thank you to my friends, Beth, Carol, and Gayle, who were able to come visit  and celebrate restaurant week, as well!  

Visit the U.S.S. Chowder Pot III and tell them Home Place sent you!

U.S.S. Chowder Pot III
560 East Main Street
Branford, CT
(203) 481.2356

Nineteen Restaurants. Seven Days. Branford Restaurant Week 2012.
Hope you visited one!

Chowder Pot Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi there! I am a fellow CT Blogger at just stopping by! I keep hearing how great these chowder pot restaurants are and have to get to one soon! :)

    1. CT Bloggers are the best information sharers! Just read your strawberry picking entry at - and it's making me look forward to the strawberry shortcake I hope to have tomorrow at the Branford Festival. PS Rose's sounds like a fun place to go!


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