The time has come to start picking out summer destinations. By way of methodologies you could do worse than throwing darts at the oyster list from Cull & Pistol, the new sit-down spinoff from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. How about Mirichimi Bay, New Brunswick, home of the Beau Soleil oyster? Or Malpeque Bay, Prince Edward Island, known for its cottages, piping plovers, and the crisp finish of Indian Creek bivalves? Maybe you’d prefer the west coast, where the rugged shores of Cortes Island, British Columbia, abet rugged blue shellfish? If all else fails, there’s always Chelsea.
The Market’s din is kept well out of Cull & Pistol. A narrow dining room (near identical to that of neighboring Friedman’s Lunch) fits a long stainless bar topped with craft beer handles from locales as exotic as the oysters (The Bronx Brewing Company excepted). Stained wooden banquettes would seem as welcome in the cabin of an old fishing boat as in downtown Manhattan. Per the New York M.O., seating’s a bit tight. Go easy on the french fries?
Chef Dave Siegal, who helms both sibling seafood spots, has gone decidedly upscale here. Tender cuttlefish sit on a nest of squid ink “fideos negros” noodles (a neighboring diner suggested they looked like twigs; they’re not twigs). The menu is topped by a clambake dinner for two, with a luxurious mix of lobster, clams, mussels, and chorizo in a classic steamer pot. In honor of Seigal’s neighboring flagship, lobster rolls come two ways: hot and buttered, or cold with mayo. Speaking of neighbors, the adjacent L’Arte del Gelato cart makes a special orange Creamsicle for Cull & Pistol. Oh, gelato. Italy would make for a nice trip. Though again, there’s always Chelsea.