Russ and Daughters, New York City, New York

Looking for a bagel in NYC? Grab the best bagel in the city, and quite possibly the world, at Russ and Daughters. I talk about the best bagel, but Russ and Daughters offer more than just bagels. You can also offer caviar, take-home meals, catering, and plenty of other Jewish dishes (think lox, caviar, smoked fish, latkes, and rugalach).

With three locations in NYC, the Lower East Side, Brooklyn, and the NYC Jewish Museum, you can pick up or eat wherever you are around the city. There is also a Russ and Daughters Cafe location near the shop in the Lower East Side. Here you can get blintzes and other items like babka french toast. 

The amount of selection available when choosing a bagel is quite literally endless. Lactose intolerant? Choose a goat cheese schmear (cream cheese). Rather have something that is plant-based? Choose the tofu schmear in one of many flavors. Maybe you want classic cream cheese or you would rather with caviar or scallions mixed in. 

Then it is time to choose your bagel. Onion, garlic, everything, poppyseed, salt, or even a bialy instead. Ask for the inside to be carved out for fewer carbs, or save it for a doughy effect. Toasted or not, and then on to the most important selection…toppings and smoked fish!

Obviously, if you are a vegetarian you are going to avoid the smoked fish, but toppings offered include pickled onions, pickles, types of cheese, greens, capers, mustard, and different types of caviar. 

The star of the show is, of course, the smoked fish. My favorite is the “salmon belly lox” which are super salty (they remind you of this every time you order it). Other great options are smoked whitefish, hot smoked trout, sturgeon, sable, kipped (baked) salmon, gravlax, nova smoked salmon, king salmon, pastrami cured salmon, gaspe nova smoked salmon, and Scottish smoked salmon.  

Sirved must try:

  • Pastrami Russ: Rather than typical pastrami this is made with smoked salmon pastrami. It also comes with sauerkraut, pickles, mustard, and muenster cheese. Just perfection. 
  • Salad sandwich: Russ and Daughters is known well for its various fish salads, and this sandwich is made from whitefish and baked salmon salad, along with either hot smoked/cold-smoked fish OR chopped liver on a bagel. I wouldn’t go for the chopped liver because that is not my favorite thing in the world, but the hot smoked/cold smoked flavors go amazingly well with the fresh fish salad. 
  • Build your own bagel: You can always pick from a selection of what is available to build your own bagel sandwich. My order includes an onion bagel, scallion cream cheese, pickled onions, salmon roe, belly lox, and red onions. It is salty, onion forward, and one of my favorite things to eat on this planet. 

Russ and Daughters is something I have to eat as my first meal every time I am back in the city. It was my birthday breakfast last year, and it is truly an inspirational bagel. My final tips are to avoid the salt bagel because it is super intense.

Another tip for those who want pickles on their sandwich because you need to be a bit tricky. (Pickles on my sandwich are a must for me when it comes to certain bagel combinations). Sometimes they will do it for you, but usually won’t. Instead, just ask for it sliced lengthwise on the side, and then just add it yourself! Explore Russ & Daughters’ menu in New York, New York here. Enjoy!