A Love Letter to Russ & Daughters

When in New York City, one frequently hears hyperbolic statements from locals, like:

“We have the best pizza”, or “our bagels are the best because of the water here”. While the Baker and the Baker’s sister are big fans of New York style bagels, when it comes to lox and they’re in New York, that lox should come from one deli: Russ & Daughters.

To say much more about the history of location would be unnecessary as the Deli (and the associated restaurant) has been amply described by various food communities, not only due to the stellar cuisine but also the wonderful backstory of the shop. Learn more about this in the 2014 documentary The Sturgeon Queens: Russ and Daughters.

The Sturgeon Queens – Trailer from BetterThanFiction Productions on Vimeo.

Both the restaurant and the deli have long waits due to their outstanding reputations. Given the likely length of a wait for a table at the cafe, the sisters decided to go to the deli to get takeaway sandwiches. Even still, the deli experience took over an hour. (No surprise since it was the week before Passover, and the deli stocks an ample selection of Passover foods.)

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So, here are a few tips for visiting the Russ & Daughters deli counter:

  • Don’t be shy: voice your needs loudly and confidently.
  • Be bold: come up with your own combination of bagel/bialy, type of schmear, and lox (don’t feel as though you have to one of the combinations that they have come up with)
  • Enjoy watching the process: Russ & Daughters has a superb selection of smoked fish and lox and the only thing more fun than eating it is watching the workers slice it perfectly thin.

Eventually, the sisters’ number was called and they ordered their sandwiches. They marveled at the deli man’s knife skills as he sliced their pastrami cured salmon.

The sandwiches did not last long due to their supreme deliciousness and the sisters’ hunger. While the following picture only depicts two of the sandwiches that they ordered, the others were not photographed due to the speed with which they were consumed.

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Pictured here: half a PASTRAMI RUSS (Pastrami-Cured Salmon with Sauerkraut and Mustard on a Bagel or Bialy and “The Works”) and half an everything bagel toasted with scallion cream cheese, nova lox and “The Works”).

Delighted with their lunchtime victory, the sisters continued their exploration of Manhattan.

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