My roommate took his visitors to Brophy Brothers last night, a seafood restaurant at the Santa Barbara Harbor (there is one at the Ventura Harbor, too).
When I had a guest in town (my mother) and was staying at the West Beach Inn, I did the exact same thing – I wanted her to taste what I consider to be the best clam chowder in town.
Usually, since it’s right there at the harbor, I go for a beer and a bowl after a sail, or anytime we’re hanging out at the downtown beaches. But we had no dinner plans and the West Beach Inn is directly across from the harbor.
It’s always nice walking amongst the boats, looking at all the names. I find myself scratching my head at times, though – some of those boats are so poorly kept – it sort of annoys me (they could be so beautiful).
Maybe that’s what I’ll do if all this doesn’t work out – start a boat-cleaning service.
If you’ve never been to Brophys, it’s worth waiting for a seat at the bar or a table outside on the upstairs deck. The view is spectacular, especially during the day when you can watch the boats go in and out (as well as all the other water activity) and you can see the mountains clearly.
There is a bar downstairs that’s mostly for the overflow crowd, but you want to be upstairs unless you’re waiting for a table.
I learned on this recent visit that you also only want to go to Brophys for clam chowder and other seafood snacks (baked clams, mussels, oysters, fish stew, etc.).
It wasn’t that the entrees were bad – we tried the seafood pasta and the Ahi tuna – but they simply weren’t anything to write home about. My tuna was a tick overcooked – which you just can’t do – and I feel like I’ve had that pasta dish at least twenty times in my life (it was rather ordinary there on the plate).
To be honest, if they didn’t have such damn good chowder, I would probably never eat there. The atmosphere is awesome, but it’s usually crowded and the service can be very California-paced – and there are other places downtown with equally good views.
As long as they’re serving chowder, though, I guess I’m stuck. But I’m sticking to the plan from now on.
Beer and a bowl, after a sail.