04 Jul2007

Russ & Daughters

by Marketman

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Russ & Daughters is another MUST SEE food shop in the Lower East Side of New York. Despite having frequented the area for the past 30 years, usually to load up on candy at Economy Candy or undergarments at the neighborhood wholesalers, sheets and fabric for my mom, etc., for some reason, I have never entered this shop before. So when my sister recently asked if I had featured the store already, I said I had never been there… First of all, from the outside, I already loved the NAME of the store. My grandfather had a company that was called XXXXXXXX & Sons, and that company has passed down through generations and now my siblings and I manage it. But it always bothered me that I rarely saw companies with XXXXXXXX & Daughters… Recently, however, I was informed there was a company called Lehman Sisters in the Philippines, a take-off on the venerable Lehman Brothers Investment Bank, I suppose. And now, this food store called Russ & Daughters…

Established in 1914 (it is 93 years old!!!) in the exact same location, this gem of a food shop is family owned and has been handed down through 4 generations of the family. The interior is impeccably appointed and it feels like entering a different era, albeit with the most modern chillers and other display case equipment. This is a store I would LOVE to own and run, exactly as it is. The Lower East side was a Jewish section of town for a long time, and many of the shops here catered to a kosher clientele. This shop carries a phenomenal selection of the finest smoked salmon and fish in the city (less broad than Zabar’s but arguably better overall in quality)… and with a motto like “Lox et Veritas,” you just have to smile. They have an impressive amount of the finest beluga and other caviars in stock, gallons and gallons of different incredibly appetizing looking dips, pickles and olives, canned goods, olive oils and vinegars, cheeses, chocolates, etc. Ayayay!!! Fantastic store… a must see and expecially nice if combined with a visit to Economy Candy and some of the new chi-chi shops in the area that is undergoing a revival of sorts.

A wonderful selection of smoked or marinated salmon…

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Kippers or smoked whole fish (the closest thing to tinapa if you are craving it)…

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At least 10 different kinds of bagels that all looked superb…

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Caviar for the afficionado and dabbler alike…

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They carried kilos and kilos of caviar in stock, PLUS a few small Mother of Pearl serving spoons which cost a whopping $25+ each (you can get them at balikbayan handicrafts in Manila for a fraction of that!)

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A display case of dips that was so appealing you wanted to buy a little of everything…

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More dips and shmears…

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Upscale canned goods and refrigerated items; note the wonderful white tile floors…

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Chocolate and sweets counter with cookies, fine chocolates, dried fruit, nuts, etc.

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A selection of interesting cheeses as well…

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Oh why, oh why, can we not support a food store of this calibre in Manila?!?

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Apicio says:

    Veritas indeed. That’s yiddish gall for you. In a similar vein, we have a shop here called Lox, stock and barrel. The “xxxx and daughters” designation is likely reinforced by the tradition that jewishness is actually passed on through the female line. In Quebec and elsewhere where civil law is essentially the Code Napoleon, you frequently come accross companies carrying the widow’s name as in Veuve Cliquot. Cliquot incidentally, is also what Russians call all champagne.

    Fried kippered herrings, burong manga and sinangag (never mind Wheaties) is the true breakfast of champions.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 11:08 am

     
  2. carina says:

    MM, sorry if I missed it, but did you already answered your survey question about the weight of your luggage when you came back from your trip? hehehe.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 11:10 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    carina, thanks for reminding me, I haven’t posted that yet…

    Jul 4, 2007 | 12:08 pm

     
  4. Swimgreen says:

    Thing is, if ever a deli came this close to a place like this in manila, it still wouldnt have the smell of history, and nothing beats that! Deli’s in manila just dont have that smell. For that great smell, we have the markets :)

    Jul 4, 2007 | 2:30 pm

     
  5. MegaMom says:

    Marinated herring in cream sauce was tops for me at this place. This post (as well as the Economy Candy one) brought back a lot of good memories. Thanks for posting about all these lower east side treasures!

    Jul 5, 2007 | 4:55 pm

     
  6. Maddie says:

    OMG! I’m salivating as I read this post! That chiller full pf dips and smears. Damn! They should have that here. Yun ang better than ice cream! And the smoked salmon. yum! MM, why don’t you open a store like that, eh?

    Jul 5, 2007 | 11:24 pm

     
  7. Maria Clara says:

    This is not your regular mom and pop business culture. With their offerings – it is a high end store. They made it convenient for Wall Street people and their peers. Caviar/ lox salmon caters to people who have some extra bucks to spare.

    Jul 6, 2007 | 12:59 am

     
  8. Marghi says:

    Only an ultra-foodie like you, MM, would get a high on Russ&Daughters….and Katz Deli….gone are the days when we would make the pilgrimage to the area, particularly Delancey St., to buy an extra suitcase or pantyhose in bulk. Its a bit sad that the area has quickly become gentrified and the likes of Wylie Dufresne of WD-50, and”foaming”, snd Adria-style tricks fame, have taken over Clinton St. and its environs. My memories of Sunday trips downtown with my lolo, my siblings, and cousins,in the 70’s have faded considerably, but thank God for old haunts like Russ & Daughters and the like where time DOES stop…..a warm bialy, anyone????

    Aug 9, 2007 | 12:15 am

     
  9. cary cohen says:

    I am trapped here in Maryland with memories of going into Russ and gettin those great jellies in assorted colors. As I recall, they were packaged in large brick form. Reading this site has me craving for tub butter and really good nova. When I lived in East New York/Brownsville, I would go over to the smoked fish factory. Nowadays, the stuff I get in packages isn’t cut properly and has skin on the bottom.

    Apr 24, 2009 | 11:12 am

     
 

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