Don’t be confused when looking for Russ & Daughters cafe on your Google map, there are two Russ & Daughters store (one is a cafe, another is a shop.) The Russ & Daughter’s Appetizer shop is along E. Houston Street and the cafe is along Orchard Street. The Russ & Daughters brand has been in existence for around 100 years now, first establishing their store in the same shop location in 1914 by Joel Russ, a Polish immigrant who catered to Jewish immigrants in the Lower East Side area.
It is now run by the 4th generation of the Russ family and doing particularly well, due the queue of locals and tourists alike lining up for their famous bagels, herring, caviar and salmon both in their original store and cafe. Their actual cafe opened in 2014, celebrating the century mark of their original store, giving their patrons a place to sit down and enjoy their bagels with some alcohol.
Ambience: As New York as you can get, a clean modern exterior with clear opened windows for every passer-by to see the amount of people trying to get in and get a seat. We arrived early, in comparison to the time we usually wake up and already the seating was almost full. The interior is a clean retro feel, fitted with open kitchens and white coated waiters to exude their 100years of expertise on bagels, herring and salmon.
Food: Though there were many things on the menu that we weren’t familiar with and wanted to try, we stuck with the plain and familiar. We tried the following:
- 2 x The Classic, which was Gaspe Nova Smoked Salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion and capers.
- 1 x Yum Kippered, Kippered baked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion and capers.
When taking your order, they ask what kind of bagel you want (there are around 4 choices). The serving of our orders were on boards, looking more like a deconstructed salmon bagel on a board. Lack of familiarity and knowledge has me judging my order as overpriced, and plain. No unique taste or flavour, to harp on about. I do suggest if you go here, to try something unheard of, or unfamiliar. Do not make my mistake and order a plain old salmon bagel.
Occasion: Named by New York Times as one of the best 10 new restaurants in New York, there must be a reason. If you’re in Lower East Side of New York, might as well spend a breakfast here. Personally, I see it as an overpriced sister of their appetizer shop. And would probably buy from there instead and take it home, or eat it outside their shop. But if you want to drink alcohol with your order, then you need to come in and experience it.
Service:From getting a table to leaving the restaurant, service was professional and welcoming. The waiter was more than happy to explain the menu, but my problem was that I needed the whole menu explained to me. Of course we didn’t get the waiter to explain the entire menu, but the words that were coming out of his mouth sounded like another language. If you’re ignorant about N.Y. Jewish cuisine like I am, make sure you have the internet to be able to google what you’re going to order.
Pricing: For 2 adults and 1 child, tax included we spent around $80USD-$90USD. Remember you need to give 15%-20% tip to your waiter on top of your bill.
Contact Info: Russ & Daughters CafeAddress: 127 Orchard St | New York, New York 10002Telephone: 212-475-4880, ext. 2
Website: http://www.russanddaughterscafe.com/Store Hours: Mon-Fri 9am to 10pm, Sat-Sun 8am to 10pm
The likes of Anthony Bourdain and Martha Stewart praise this century old establishment, and I do admit it is my fault for not choosing something new to try. But I just found it too expensive for a simple deconstructed salmon bagel and drip coffee. But if you don’t care for how much you spend, want to watch chefs work In an open kitchen and willing to try new things on the menu, give this place a try. You may just find that New York magic, I was hoping to find.
Russ & Daughters Cafe entrance
Fresh salmon, gravalax or smoked salmon
Chef cutting some salmon
Wondering what to order
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner bar
Do not disturb