Cull & Pistol

75 Ninth Ave. New York, NY 10011(646) 568-1223 • cullandpistol.com

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Can I just say how much I love Chelsea Market? I mean as a foodie it’s like a dream in mall form. Fish markets, Italian markets, spice markets, meat markets, bakeries and restaurants lined up like culinary wishes come true. It’s a bit like Faneuil Hall in Boston, only cooler and less touristy. Not to mention less food courty. If you haven’t been you really need to take a stroll. And if you have been, but haven’t tried one of the restaurants yet, well, you need to do that too (Hale & Hearty Soups withstanding).

I did just that very recently at Cull & Pistol and I have to say, I was pleased & delighted. The vibe is fish shack chic and the service is surprisingly warm and friendly for NYC, from door to table and back again. Not many tables though, so I recommend making a rezzy or going at an off-hour.

Impressing the palate were some of the freshest oysters I think I’ve ever had. Granted I suppose it shouldn’t be that surprising considering they are affiliated with the Lobster Place fish market next door. That said, I didn’t think they had as huge a selection as some other joints in town, but I think they are playing it for quality not quantity and quality they were. My favorite being from Osterville, MA funny enough, which is near and dear to my heart for other reasons as well, I spent many a summer there over the years.

If you don’t dig on the raw variety, however, I highly recommend their fried option, called Pistols on Horseback. Three fried oysters wrapped in prosciutto with crème fraíche and chives sitting atop a mini tortillas. I’m not sure why the name, but I’m pretty damn sure you’ll like ‘em.

The grilled octopus was one of the weaker dishes IMO, but most certainly not bad. Perhaps it’s more due to the fact that I’ve had some pretty astounding plates of pus lately and this was not amongst them.

For the main course I went right into the eye of the storm, ordering the highly acclaimed Connecticut Lobster Roll (pictured), well-knowing that head-to-head with Red Hook Lobster Pound this would most likely pale, and pale it did. Again, most definitely not bad by any distortion of logic, in fact, it was actually very good, but it’s also no Ultimate.

And for dessert, C&P ended strong with a very tasty slice of lemon meringue pie. Not too sweet, with that perfect punch of tartness, which is just how I like it. And like it I did, from the first bit to the last… and from Cull to Pistol… not that I have any idea what that even means.

3 teeth

Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.

114 Nassau Ave. Greenpoint, NY 11222 • (718) 349-0400 • greenpointfish.com

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I love the vibe/concept of this place. A little fish market up front, with a few lucky seats lined up along a bar overlooking the kitchen, Momofuku Ko style. Sadly, the food is not anything even close to Ko style and almost everything needed seasoning.

The iced tea needed sugar, the fish sandwich and fish tacos (pictured) both needed salt and pepper, and the tacos also needed copious amounts of Tapatió. Then, after all of that, they were still lacking by comparison to the fish tacos at ABC Cocina. Granted those are the best I’ve ever had, but these might actually be down there among the worst. Overcooked and flavorless to the point where the freshness of the fish no longer mattered.

On the plus side, the blistered shishito peppers were nicely salted and worthwhile. And the lobster roll was hearty thumbs up. Packed with meat and not too much mayo. Not quite at the ranks of an Ultimate, but it would hold its own against Luke’s in my humble, and by that I mean not at all humble, opinion.

Definitely not worthy of the 4 stars you’ll see on Yelp, but if you need a good fish market, the stuff in the case looked good. Just wish someone there knew how to cook it. Luckily we walked over to Peter Pan for some donuts afterward and all was right again with the world.

2 teeth

 

The Reel Inn

18661 Pacific Coast Hwy. Malibu, CA 90265(310) 456-8221 • reelinnmalibu.com

 Inside the Reel Inn

It’s a bit of a shack when it comes to décor, but very much with intention, and that’s sort of its charm. Kinda like the restaurant version of a Pug. But the thing I love about this place is that you actually get to choose your piece of fish right out of the case (pictured), as though you were in a fish market, so you know it’s fresh. The other thing I love is that you get to choose how you want it done. I always go blackened with dirty rice and veggies. Oh, and a beer. Or two.

And while this place used to be worthy of the 4 stars you’ll find on TripAdvisor it has unfortunately slid over the last five years or so, hence my lower knife count for a review featuring the word “love” so much. It’s still a solid good, though. But let’s just hope it doesn’t slide any farther or it’ll wind up in the Pacific. Which might be a good thing now that I think of it. A poetic return to its roots, so to speak.

3 teeth

The Fish Church

Rosenlundsgatan, Gothenburg 411 25, Sweden • 031-13 82 34
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I love places like this. Off the beaten path. Odd. Little nooks that never seem to make on anyone’s top ten list. These are the gems that shine every bit as bright as the likes of Michelin stars IMFO (In My Ferocious Opinion).

This is why I loved Gabriel’s in the Fish Church so much. Located upstairs in an old church turned fish market right by the water. The décor is more bar than restaurant, but somehow that only seemed to add to its charm. And being that it’s located in a fish market, only added to its fish cred.

So, on to things edible. First up were the shrimp baskets, and while they were obviously fresh, I found them to be miniscule, making the work to meat ratio very unfavorable. Served with heads on them, which only added to the laborious task of shelling what ended up looking like a normal shrimp left in the dryer way too long. Fortunately it was served with a delicious, smoky tartar sauce. Unfortunately there was no cocktail option, so my spicy side had to sit this one out.

The half crabs were also quite the challenge to eat, having to jab a fork in them so hard I felt like Gemma from Sons of Anarchy using a poultry fork to – Spoiler Alert for Season 6 Finale!

And while the oysters were much easier than the other two, they were also not as flavorful as I would’ve liked. Granted I would’ve liked some friggin’ spicy cocktail sauce, but apparently that’s not how Goteborg rolls.

So after all of these misses you’re probably wondering what in the hell I liked about this place? Well, the cod entrée was spectacular! Served with potatoes, vegetables, egg and a white wine sauce. The phenomenally fresh fish blended into the bowl of ingredients like Girl Talk mixing up tracks on All Day.

Another nice surprise was the local pilsner. Quite smooth and much better than the local ale. Trust me.

Sadly, the church closed on a down note with their odd attempt at a deconstructed chocolate cake which tasted more like it was scooped out of a construction site. And what’s especially unforgiveable about this is that they only had one dessert on the menu. I’m sorry, but if you’re only going to put one option on a menu than the least you can do is nail it!

But oh the cod. I will never forget the cod. And the location. Okay and the beer. Our server was very nice as well, but so was everyone in Sweden. I think it’s like a federal law or something. Granted he did forget our fish soup, which I hear is quite something. Oh well, maybe next time.

3 teeth