Russ & Daughters
Lower East Side
179 E. Houston St.
between Allen/Orchard Sts.
Brooklyn Navy Yard
141 Flushing Avenue
At Vanderbilt Avenue
The Russ family has owned and operated its wonderful food store at the same East Houston Street location since 1914. The white-tiled shop is dominated by a large counter and chill case filled with an impressive selection of smoked fish, salads, and 8 kinds of herring and pickled lox. As the friendly and knowledgeable staff helps you make selections, they'll also ask about your children and chat about the neighborhood, making you feel like you're a regular, even if you're not.
Today there is also a new factory, bakery and shop located in the repurposed Brooklyn Navy Yard, plus cafes at The Jewish Museum and on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side where they serve many of the foods sold in their Houston Street store.
The shops still sell favorite Jewish traditional foods, including babka, rugelach, and pickles by the barrel, and they're experts in smoked fish and caviar. But the stores have extended their quality selection to also include a comprehensive selection of gourmet products including imported olive oils, salt, cheeses, dried fruit and nuts, bread, and a large selection of chocolates and sweets.
What to avoid:
Sunday mornings, unless you have lots of time and patience.
What to know:
Prices are very good considering the quality of everything and the service is wonderful. Unlike many stores on the Lower East Side, Russ & Daughters is open on Saturdays. While the store itself is not under rabbinical supervision, they sell many kosher-style items.
The stores delivers to all 5 NYC boroughs; check their web site for delivery charges and details.