What do American chef and restauranteur Mario Batali and I have in common, other than a love of fresh pasta? Well, we are both avid fans of Russ & Daughters in New York’s Lower East Side.
This old school shop has some of the best lox, nova and herring I have ever eaten, including its dill-covered smoked salmon with horseradish cream cheese on a bialy. But even though Russ & Daughters is a fish-based establishment, the pastries are what make the shop special.
The cinnamon and chocolate “babka” (a layered, pastry-like bread) is perfect for breakfast or a mid-day snack; the rugelach are light and flaky; the black and white cookies blow the mind; and the hamantashen are the most beautifully made endeavors of the cookie I had ever tried. And at Russ & Daughters Cafe, the sit-down version down the road, there are even more indulgent options. Russ & Daughters is a perfect spot for the New York visitor who craves traditional Ashkenazic Jewish food done well.