Back to our wondrous tour of the City of Lights! Ok, wait, that's Paris. The City of Angels! Nope, Los Angeles. The Magic City? That's Miami! Gah! I'm never going to get this right. (You guys can see the snow, you know we're in New York still in blog-time. Joke's over, Maddy.)
While I've been to New York a fair number of times before (I try to go at least once a year, and have been mostly successful for the past several years), I still rely on my friends' suggestions for places to go and cool new things to see. I only keep the chicest of friends around me who constantly have their finger on the pulse of this bustling metropolis!
...That, and they know all the good places to eat.
Russ & Daughters Café (an offshoot of their iconic New York deli) is one such place, and may have been my favorite restaurant we went to in New York. I know, thems big words, but I stand by it. Until next time, at least.
Hop on inside this post to see more pictures of our mouthwatering breakfast! I'm craving lox and capers just writing this post...
Russ & Daughters was effectively started in 1907 when Joel Russ left Germany for New York City where his sister lived. He began selling Polish mushrooms carried around on his shoulders and eventually saved up money for a horse and wagon. In 1914, after marrying and having three children, Russ opened his first storefront location and expanded his operation to selling smoked fish.
In 1920, he changed the name of his store to J. Russ Appetizing Store:
"Appetizing," as a noun, is a Jewish food tradition that is most typical among American Jews, and it is particularly local to New York and New Yorkers. The word “appetizer” is derived from the Latin "appete," meaning "to desire, covet, or long for." Used as a noun, "appetizing" is most easily understood as "the foods one eats with bagels." Its primary components are a variety of smoked and cured salmon, homemade salads, and cream cheeses. - from Russ & Daughters
Eventually the name changed to Russ & Daughters, and is thought to be the first use of "& Daughters" in a store name. How progressive of them! I knew I liked this place.
Back to breakfast! We started with necessary caffeine boosts.
Now, you guys. If you had told me two months ago that I would be happy to eat chopped liver for breakfast, I would have looked at you like your head had opened up and little chirping birds had flown out. Chopped liver? You must be joking!
Turns out, it's just like pâté, which I love more than any twenty-something-without-a-silver-spoon should love. My mom makes homemade chicken liver pâté for our neighbors every holiday season, and possibly more than one sad look is given as the little buckets of fattening joy head out the door.
We also ordered traditional latkes, serves with sour cream and applesauce. These were scarfed down post-haste.
I don't know how we managed to do it (possibly a bit of Luck of the Irish...from Kate, not me!) but we were seated in a far back corner right by a set of huge windows. The natural lighting in our little corner was just stunning, we were close to the restrooms, and it was quiet enough back there for us to hear ourselves think (not so with the rest of the restaurant - it was packed!)
Then, the pièces-de-résistance arrived -- our bagel boards! I got The Classic, since I couldn't make up my mind between having something comforting and known or something new and exciting. I figured the chopped liver was enough excitement for one day? But, let it be known - I intend to someday try everything on this menu! I do!
We were pretty content at this point, but no breakfast brunch visit to Russ & Daughters is complete without a dessert. Though everything (literally everything) looked tempting, we decided the Challah Bread Pudding was the pick of the day for us.
I probably took about 35 pictures of this dessert. Look at those perfect little cubes! The apricot bits! The glowing caramel sauce! The powdered sugar! Ok, I have to look away. This is too much.
One of the things I really loved about Russ & Daughters was the style! Whoever decorated their café should get a bonus, or a raise, or free lox for life. The bright white and blue color scheme perfectly fit the jaunty atmosphere while also feeling welcoming and casual. You'd want to come here with family, with friends, or with a date - the trifecta of restaurant occasions!
Near the restroom, they had several of these framed drawings of scenes from the deli and restaurant. How fun are these? The bagel bag is my favorite. I would buy a print of that in a minute. Can we work something out, Russ?
I also loved that they kept this large sign from their original move in 1920! This is from the move from their very first storefront to their second, longer-lasting (it's still a bustling scene of activity) location.
When we were done, my friends huddled under an overhang while trying to figure out our next move for the day. I, of course, was in the middle of the street taking snowy pictures and twirling about like a lunatic.
Russ & Daughters was definitely one of the highlights of my trip - if you get the chance, head there for a delicious breakfast that is more than worth any wait!
Russ & Daughters
Deli at 179 Houston Street Café at 127 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002
Mon - Fri 10am-10pm Sat - Sun 8am - 10pm