Upper East Side
Get directions | 179 E. Houston St., New York, NY 10002
Hours | Sunday 11am-5:45pm, Monday 11am-5:45pm, Tuesday 11am-5:45pm, Wednesday 11am-5:45pm, Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday 11am-4pm, Saturday Closed
When the lights went out and the water came flooding, we couldn’t help but wonder if this could be it. If Sandy were to permanently conquer lower Manhattan, what would we have missed the most? A bagel with belly lox, cream cheese, tomato and capers from Russ & Daughters, the LES institution of smoked fish and Jewish ‘appetizers’ that’s been around since 1914. You know a place is the real deal when it’s equally beloved by the old guard of Jewish immigrants as it is by their children and their children’s children. And it ain’t just us Jews. Everyone loves a good bagel and lox. It’s a New York tradition.
We usually don’t review bagel joints. Sure, we’ve got plenty of love for H&H; (RIP), Murray’s and Ess-a-bagel, but you won’t find them on The Infatuation. Russ & Daughters isn’t your typical bagel place. This is a smoked fish museum of deliciousness that people come from near and far to experience. The guys behind the counter, most of whom have been there for decades, are professional sandwich makers. There’s an art form to it, so don’t rush them. The way they hand cut the Nova, smear the homemade cream cheese, angle the tomato, thinly slice the onion, and finish it off with a couple capers takes dedication and focus. You can taste the love in every bite. Take a number, find a small crevice of available real estate, and wait your turn. Try and avoid accidental tuchus contact with an old Yenta and keep your eyes peeled for A-list celebrity sightings. You never know who you might run into.