Summer kicks off this weekend and many New Yorkers are headed out of town, but if your plans include staying in the city (or perhaps you’re coming for a long weekend visit), then make sure Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Avenue) is on your itinerary: especially these new additions to the dining scene!
Cull and Pistol for the Seafood Lover
From the team behind The Lobster Place, comes the full-service seafood restaurant Cull and Pistol. The menu is centered on the raw bar with hot entrees and sides that complement bivalves and shellfish, and with The Lobster Place’s reputation as one of the best local fishmongers, diners are assured of the quality and freshness of their meal! A recent meal included the signature, seasonal Raw Bar (two types of oysters, clams, jumbo shrimp and crab claws with traditional dipping sauces and lemon), the deviled egg trio (one of each: lobster & caviar, crab & chervil, vodka-dill salmon & trout roe), and the grilled kale salad (kale, of course, is the vegetable du jour in New York, and this is a wonderful smoky treatment that softens the tougher leaves and is dressed with white anchovies and tonnato) to begin. The entree selection is well-coordinated with starters, and while other diners at the table enjoyed a classic cold Maine lobster roll, a grilled swordfish sandwich (which comes with a side of pickled squash and had the perfect acidity), or steamed PEI mussels, I chose the fish and chips (and glad I did!). The hake filet is so light and flaky (and large) and the batter is deep brown but not in slightest bit oily. The shoestring fries are dusted with new bay seasoning (the paprika shines through) and don’t require any dipping sauce (although I happily used the malt vinegar for authenticity’s sake). The perfect finishing touch to a meal is a scoop of orange Creamsicle® ice cream, which is sweet without being cloying.
If you don’t have time to sit, or are visiting the market with someone with seafood allergies, not to fear, there is plenty here for you, too!
Fast, Fresh Cambodian Lunch at Num Pang
For a Cambodian-style sandwich, Num Pang set the standard at three other Manhattan locations and now offers their classic baguette with chili mayo in the market corridor! To be clear, that’s just the anchor of the sandwich: you can choose from the tried-and-true fillings like pulled pork, hoisin meatballs, or peppercorn catfish, or experiment with a location specific flavor. For lunch one day, I opted for the five-spice glazed pork belly with pickled Asian pear. It is hard to call this a sandwich (in a good way): the bread is a delicious vehicle for the rich pork, the shredded carrots, the crisp but warm and softened pear, and of course the hot sauce (which I asked for on the side as a dip). The service was quick and efficient- you can see in the open kitchen while your order is made- and even though I was called away mid-lunch, when I came back nearly an hour later, the bread was still crusty and the flavors just as vibrant. CMB owner, David, went carb-less and ordered the coconut tiger shrimp salad with romaine lettuce, cabbage, bell peppers, sprouts, cilantro, roasted peanuts, and a tangy house dressing, and was just as pleased with the Asian flavors and adding another healthy lunchtime option to the rotation.
Sharing a brand-new space in the market that used to be Amy’s Bread’s kitchen, are two different, but scene-drawing takeout counters!
Hybrid Southern Food by ?uestlove
There’s the celebrity-driven/super-restaurateur partnership Hybird, which makes chicken drumsticks using the recipe of ?uestlove (of The Roots) and the operational know-how of Stephen Starr and Starr Restaurants. You would be remiss to skip the drumstick as the heart and soul (and funny pun considering ?uestlove is a drummer!) of the operation, but make a meal of it with an order of dumplings, too. All dumplings on the menu aren’t created equal: the Crème de la Crab is similar to crab rangoon, deep fried and served with a sweet chili sauce, while the Curry Up Chicken is steamed and more shumai-esque. If you’re craving sweet, you could choose from the four cupcakes, the Tom Yum had a lovely cake crumb and the lime was not overly pungent, and everyone seems to like joking about the Miso Ho-ney corncake with miso buttercream frosting.
#1 Tacos from Los Tacos No. 1
Just steps away, the taco trend has finally arrived at Chelsea Market at Los Tacos No.1! It is a welcoming counter (Bienvenidos is splashed about the space along with the straight-forward menu). You can order tacos, quesadillas, chips and salsa/guacamole, and drinks including agua frescas. Two tacos make a generous lunch: the grilled cactus (or nopal) filling is perhaps the most unusual, but the marinated pork (adobada) is my favorite as it is served with a shaving of roast pineapple in the taco. You can pick and choose from fresh salsas, lime, and herb garnishes at the bar, and pig-shaped molcajetes are filled with grilled onions and jalapenos to be eaten while you wait. If you choose to eat a pepper, be sure to have a glass of horchata nearby- the lightly sweet, cinnamon-spiced rice milk will help alleviate the burn of capsicum!
Are you hungry yet?! Chelsea Market has been a destination for 15+ years in the New York culinary scene, but with the addition of these four dining options, there is now more reason than ever to stop by! See you soon at the store!
Just in case you want to see more images – feast your eyes!