Is there anything better than a good old’ fashioned family run restaurant? We think not. From fancy restaurants that pass down the Baton through generations, to small cafes that take after those owned by their forefathers, there is something so special about knowing the love and hard work that has gone into a family run eatery. Russ & Daughters in New York is a fantastic example of a family run business. This warm & friendly cafe is steeped in history- first opened on East Houston in 1914, it has changed a little since then, and has now gone from serving fishy takeaways to outstanding Jewish dishes. Russ & Daughters, the latest cafe, opened on 2014 on Orchard Street.
This cafe was opened by Joel Russ. His great-granddaughter, Niki Russ Federman, is now the co-owner, and she says “Food is a conduit for memory and most of our important memories revolve around family”. The four generations that have run this deli certainly have perfected the dishes over the years. We ate the bagel toast- with whitefish & baked salmon salad, wasabi-infused fish roe, horseradish dill and cream cheese- truly a taste sensation. Together we shared the Hattie platter, indulging in a mixture of fishy treats, including smoked whitefish, smoked salmon and baked salmon. When visiting, you have to try one of their many caviars, and do not bypass their red & golden beets salad- a feast for the eyes and the taste buds! Traditional Jewish deli food is here presented with the pride and care of a Michelin star restaurant, turning old classics into new favorites.
Being at Russ & Daughters café was like watching a performance. The staff wander around proudly in their white lab coats, the open kitchen lets you watch your foods being prepared and salmon slicers exhibit their skills for the guests. Even the sodas are homemade, and you feel that you being treated to a private meal just for you. This café is perfect to visit at any time of day, as the intimacy of the café can suit a quick lunch, yet the expertly created food and timeless atmosphere is perfect for occasion dinners.
Unfortunately, Russ & Daughters does not offer reservations, so prepare to wait in line at busy times of the day. However, they do offer some other services. Russ & Daughters sell gift cards starting at $25, and can write a personalized message on the card for you. The café can also be booked out privately. The space seats 70, and can be hired for weddings, birthday celebrations, cocktail parties, caviar tastings, corporate events and holiday events.
A sharing platter for 3-4 will set you back $70-$90 USD, a sandwich costs around the $10 mark and egg plates $13-$19 dollars. Considering the history and popularity of this cafe, this is brilliant value for money. The café is full of history and life, the food is to die for, and you are eating in a café whose owners have been honored with awards from the NYC Mayor’s office, Foundation for Jewish Culture and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.
Great value. Great food. Great people.