Russ and Daughters
179 East Houston Street, New York City, March 2 2013
Russ and Daughters, R&D for short, is another of the historic New York restaurants around the East Village/Lower East Side area of NYC. Located on Houston street, just a few blocks from Katz’s, R&D is famous for their bagels, lox and caviar. I’d recommend going either on a weekday or non-peak hours, as the wait for a bagel and lox can be 30 minutes to an hour otherwise. When you enter the premises, remember to take a number, as you won’t get served without one.
R&D has a beautiful assortment of smoked fish including sablefish, brook trout, and salmon prepared in multiple styles. There are also over a dozen cream cheese options and eight choices of bagel. A plethora of permutations for ultimate sandwich construction. You also have the options of adding red onion, capers, tomato, and roe to your sandwich.
We decided on a plain bagel with scallion cream cheese, sablefish, capers and onion. The bagel itself is very dense and chewy, and a bit on the hard side. Good, but not amazing. The star of the show was the sablefish, which had a great creamy texture, almost buttery. Rich and satisfying, I would go back for a slab of sablefish alone. The cream cheese was thick and delicious, while the capers and onions provided the acidity and spice to balance the other rich flavours.
Overall, R&D makes a fantastic bagel and lox, but the sablefish really carried the sandwich, with the bagel being a little too crusty. For instance, the sablefish smushed out the side of the bagel when biting down, a clear sign of a problem. We tried a couple of more plain bagels after, and though tasty, they were also on the firm side.