Monday, May 17, 2010

Wussing out?: Russ & Daughters, NYC

This time it was me yapping in Pano's ear about an old school, Eastern European appetizing store specializing in smoked fish that I'd heard about from the Gastronomer's blog. It was a place filled with history, started by Joel Russ, who originally schlepped Polish mushrooms off  his shoulder, saving up enough money to purchase a pushcart where he upgraded to selling pickled herring in addition to the Polish mushrooms. Eventually he opened a store in 1920, still at its current location in the lower East side, making his three daughters partners in the store thus becoming the first business to use "and daughters" (as opposed to "and sons") in a business name.  Joel Russ, was not actually a feminist, he was just looking out for the future of his business while installing steadfast work ethic in his children, who happened to all be daughters.

Panos hadn't heard about this place so I was happy to be in-the-know about a foodie destination after he'd taken me to the first bar ever in the United States, Mamoun's Falafel and gave me the hot tip about a snazzy pizza joint. Also, Cathy of the Gastronomer had not failed me with her doughnut recommendation that I loved so dearly so I had a feeling she was on to something.

Russ and Daughters are purveyors of smoked fish, which can be a little intense first thing in the morning, but then again, what isn't intense in New York City?

Smoked Salmon Harem

I eyed the caviar and horseradish cream cheeses, but didn't have the gumption for such intense flavors first thing in the morning. I'll be honest, I kind of wussed out this time.

Cream Cheese Eye Candy

Panos poked fun at appreciated the employees' lab coat uniforms.

I'll fess up. I didn't get some crazy Danish double smoked organic salmon with caviar cream cheese like I told myself I would get beforehand. Nope, I just got the lox cream cheese with tomatoes and onions on a poppy seed bagel. Kind of boring for a place like Russ and Daughters and especially boring next to Pano's bagel stacked with bright pink fish, but my sammie was a damn good chewy bagel with a creamy, tangy and  salty - but not an overly fishy - center.  My morning hunger pangs faded followed by pangs of buyer's remorse. Next time I go back, I will order something with huge chunks of pink smoked salmon. Mark my words.

Schmear Goodness Inside: I really was Jewish in my past life

Russ & Daughters
179 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 475-0345


weezermonkey said...

I love the lab coats!

Now that is a real bagel!

Diana said...

I probably would have wussed out too. Not really a smoked salmon on my bagels kind of gal. I prefer peanut butter - just like in my oats! ;)

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Anna,

Oh no! You should've gotten some of their famous smoked salmon! :) Thanks for the pics and thoughts. I can't wait to go. :)

Banana Wonder said...

Sharon - Hah I think they are trying to look like butchers, except smoked fish isn't that bloody.

Diana - You're not a smoked salmon kinda gal? We're gonna have to work on that sista friend....

Exile Kiss - Please get smoked salmon for me! When are you going? Can't wait to read about it.

Gastronomer said...

I was Jewish in a past life too ;-)

Banana Wonder said...

Cathy - I can definitely see that! Mazeltof to our past lives!