I've been meaning to try Russ & Daughters for a long time, but for some reason I never got around to it. I was watching the Bourdain episode about old New York and he went to Russ & Daughters. It looked great and I live literally a block or two away, so it reminded me I needed to try it. I decided to go here and pick up some food for breakfast for my gf and I.
It's a pretty well known place, but I'll go into a little description since the place is so cool. It's set up kind of like a butcher / deli on the left is glass display cases with all of their different fishes (mainly smoked fish, cream cheeses and some other random stuff like caviar) and on the right is another glass display cases showing off their chocolates and dried fruits. It's all white tile and white wood and the workers where butcher-esk outfits. It's totally packed and you have to take a # and wait for your # to be called. Very happy this place is so close to me.
Once your # is called they ask you what you want. I wanted bagels and cream cheese with lox and the Bourdain episode gave me the idea to try the herring in cream sauce (never had it before). They had about 6-7 different types of smoked salmon. I tried the Scottish Salmon and the Wild Western Lox. Both were excellent, not fishy at all, very smooth and smoky, but the western was a little more mild with a great flavor that I was more fond of.
- Onion bagel with scallion cream cheese and wild western lox: very good, the salmon is among the better smoked salmon that i've had anywhere. Very soft, melt in your mouth type texture with a very fresh smoky salmon flavor. The creme cheese was good and they didn't kill the bagel with cream cheese (i hate when they put about 10 lbs of it on a bagel). The bagel was good, but wasn't anything out of the ordinary (just a solid bagel). This was excellent albeit a bit expensive. I would definitely get this again.
- Herring in cream sauce and onions: I wasn't really sure what to expect with this, I was concerned it might be overly fishy, but my concerns were certainly overblown. The cream sauce is quite sweet, I was expecting it to be sorta sweet, but this was much sweeter than I was expecting. The creme sauce I believe is made with creme fraiche, its very good and sort of refreshing. The herring filets themselves were very good (they're totally de-boned), they do have a certain fishy flavor, but it is not overpowering and was fishy in a good way. The combo of the three (fish, cream sauce and onions) was really good. I was very surprised at how much I liked this dish.
Overall, this place is great and it definitely lived up to the high expectations that I had (i'm always concerned about old places with lofty reputations b/c 8 out of 10 times im disappointed). I highly recommend this place.