We’ve stayed at the Marriott Ocean Watch in northern Myrtle Beach a couple of times. It’s a nice place. While there, in my ongoing quest for inexpensive raw oysters, we stumbled upon Rockefeller’s Raw Bar in North Myrtle Beach. It’s no Hunt’s, but they have good oysters and, during Happy Hour, sell them for only 55 cents each. They also have fresh seafood available fried, blackened, broiled or steamed. They call the steamed seafood their “Infamous Steam Kettles,” although it’s not clear why, or whether they’re infamous or famous. I’ve never tried a steam kettle, but I have tried another Rockefeller’s house specialty — the indubitably infamous Chumbo.
Chumbo is a bowl containing 1/2 gumbo and 1/2 New England style clam chowder. Both are served in the same bowl, but each retains it’s distinct character.
The two soups keep separate because they are both very thick. The chowder is roughly the consistency of queso dip, and impervious to the more liquid gumbo.
I first tried Chumbo out of curiosity. I try a lot of things out of curiosity, and order them just to find out what they are like. The truly wonderful Crownburger leaps to mind. Trying Chumbo is a bit like eating a raw oyster for the first time. You have to get beyond appearance.
Chumbo actually tastes pretty good. The gumbo part has lots of seafood and sausage, and is pretty well seasoned, considering the distance from New Orleans to Myrtle Beach. And the chowder isn’t bad at all. I’ve had the Chumbo twice, the two times about a year apart, which is about right for the Crownburger, too. Even if I lived Myrtle Beach, I’m not sure how often I would order it. Having it available all the time would eliminate much of the attraction of uniqueness.
As I say, Rockefeller’s has lots of other things to go with their raw oysters to make a good meal. You really should stop by. You won’t find Chumbo anywhere else.