Re:Russ & Daughters Appetizing Store in NYC
Been there literally hundreds of times. It's an amazing place. When you were visiting Katz's and Yonah Schimmel, you were literally standing in front of Russ and Daughters!
Simply put, it's the best appetizing store in NY, perhaps the country. When I was a kid, appetizing stores were about as plentiful as delis: there was one just about in every town in the NY metro area. They started disappearing about 20 years ago. For the most part, "appetizing" has moved into bagel shops and high end gourmet stores, but even then, it's hard to find the good stuff. For about a decade, I lived across the street from Ess-A-Bagel on 21st street. They have fantastic lox and a small sampling of smoked fish, but NOTHING in comparison to Russ and Daughters. R&D has a phenomenal selection of herring, whitefish, smoked trout, caviar, probably a dozed different types of lox...it's like a candy store for me. It's an absolute gem.
The downside (and you knew this was coming): it's painfully expensive. Regular Nova has crossed the $35 per pound mark. A whole whitefish costs about $45. And my favorite item of food on earth: smoked sliced sturgeon, is over $50 per pound. When I was a kid, we ate this stuff every single Sunday morning, and we were poor! Those days are long gone. Now that I'm in the suburbs, I get my lox at Fairway (it's very good) and I only buy the other stuff about once a year...and it's always from R&D. Now if I can just find a freaking halfway decent bagel!!