Restaurant Review: Cull & Pistol

In my previous post, I described some of the delicious things that can be found at Chelsea Market. Above all other options, my favorite place to eat at Chelsea Market has to be Cull & Pistol. The dilemma is choosing when to go. One of my favorite things on their menu is the Connecticut-style Lobster Roll. The generous chunks of lobster are warmed in lobster butter and served on a soft, toasted bun. The lobster roll is then finished with a squeeze of lemon and some kewpie mayonnaise. It’s absolutely luxurious, and one of those things that you just can’t put down. Before you realize it, the entire thing is gone! The lobster roll is served with “new bay” french fries. The fries are thin-cut shoestring fries, fried crisp and liberally seasoned. They’re a great accompaniment to the lobster roll, especially if you order one of their craft draft beers. Cull & Pistol also offers the traditional chilled Maine-style lobster roll. (The Infatuation recently named Cull & Pistol’s lobster rolls among the best in the city–so I can’t be wrong!)

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The reason why I have such a dilemma in deciding when to go to Cull & Pistol is that the Connecticut-style lobster roll is only served on the lunch menu (served from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm), and the dinner menu (served from 5:00 pm until close, on the weekend starting at 5:30). If you come in between those times, there’s no lobster roll to be had (although they do serve a cold lobster roll-style slider during happy hour).

Luckily, from 4:00 pm to 6:00pm on weekdays, there is a delicious alternative to the lobster roll–Cull & Pistol’s happy hour and raw bar menus. If you sit at the bar during happy hour, you can order raw oysters for $1 each. The bar area fills up quickly, so you have to be quick to get a spot. On our last visit, we tried two of each type of oyster available (1o varieties in all), along with two types of clams. We also ordered a half lobster, which was nicely presented. The raw bar menu changes regularly, depending on what’s fresh each day.

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So what types of oysters did we get to try this time? Beau Soleil, from Mirimichi Bay, NB; Summerside, from Malpeque Bay, PEI; Irish Point, from Hunter River, PEI; Mayflower Point, from Cape Cod Bay, MA; Pleasant Bay, from Orleans, MA; Watch Hill, from Winnapaug Pond, RI; Fishers Island, from Block Island Sound, NY; Hog Neck, from Peconic Bay, NY; Peconic Gold, also from Peconic Bay; and Penn Cove, from Sammish Bay, WA. We also had Little Neck Clams from New York, and Topneck Clams from Maine. Our bartender was knowledgeable about each variety, giving us great descriptions of the flavors and texture of each oyster.

One of the reasons why sitting at the bar is so much fun is that you can watch the oysters being shucked. These guys are experts at this, quick and precise! The oysters were clean and well-prepared.

cull and pistol lobster shuckers

For those who don’t find the raw bar as appealing, there are other food options during happy hour:

  • Clam Chowder (by the cup);
  • Chowder Disco Fries (french fries covered in clam chowder, bacon and chives)–I think I’m going to have to try this at some point;
  • Steamed Mussels;
  • Pistols on Horseback (fried oysters with Serrano ham, a ramp crepe, served with smoked aioli);
  • the Maine Lobster Sliders I mentioned previously;
  • Fish Tacos; and
  • a Charred Kale Caesar Salad.

We tried the steamed mussels. I’m not normally a huge fan of mussels, but these were delicious. The broth was rich and savory, and the chorizo added a spicy, meaty bite to the dish. This is definitely a dish I will order again. (A version of this is also available on the lunch menu, served with french fries.)

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I’ve not been to the Cull & Pistol yet for dinner, but I definitely will be trying it sometime soon!

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