Chelsea Market is different things to different people.
For out-of-towners, it's a gastronomic Disneyland where you can manhandle whole-slab pancetta and pick up a gift basket full of British mustard and postcards of kittens.
For New Yorkers, it's a hackles-raising necessary evil that requires us to ricochet through a gauntlet of grazing tourists just so we can get a decent f***ing sausage from Dickson's. And, if there weren't a throng of Asian tourists, a 1.5-pounder from The Lobster Place.
But now the Place has reorganized and reopened, and there is (standing) room for all.
In addition to its fresh fish market and the lobster rolls and crab cakes from The Shack in the Back, there's now a standing raw shellfish and sushi bar.
It's the first taste of an upcoming restaurant called Cull & Pistol (a reference to lobsters that have lost one or both of their claws), opening later this month.
But for now you'll have to content yourself with Ipswitch belly rolls and perhaps the freshest omakase selection in the city. Oh, and beer and sake and a helluva lot more elbow room.
Good thing, too. Because we both know we're buying kitten postcards when nobody's looking.
Price: 2 (out of 4)
Noise: 4 (out of 4)
Subway: A/C/E/L to 8th Ave.
Scene: It's like a lobster graveyard. And that's a good thing.
Hot seat: There are a few stools at the raw bar, but you're better off standing.
Best bets: Steamed lobster; lobster roll; omakase sushi
Nearby: The Green Table; Friedman's Lunch; Amy's Bread