After getting a hot tip from Bucktailin Billy that Russ & Daughters Appetizers had the best herring around, I knew I had to make the trip. Russ & Daughters is located on the lower east side of Manhattan on East Houston street a few store fronts away from Katz’s deli. I had walked by a ton of times and knew its reputation I just never felt the pull. After whiping up the Wallace Mustard 2 weeks ago I have been on a real interesting food kick. On Friday Katie and I had Filipino food for dinner at Maharlika(lechon was awesome as were the traditional condiments). That was an adventure I will save for another post but after something so foreign I wanted something a little more familiar. Sunday seemed like a great German/Jewish type of day. It’s was warm for December and overcast. We walked a few blocks down to Houston and into the crowded deli to pick our number from the classicly placed round red dispenser atop the deli counter. We were D62, the big light up screen read 44, not bad. It was quickly pointed out to us that they were calling C44. Eek. We were looking at a hour and a half wait!
Knowing the high standards of my client base I knew this place must be worthy of the wait. Half the people on line were from the neighborhood. Everyone hung around outside, spoke yitish, and created small talk. It was like a Tuesday in the office. Piece of cake. After a good while my number approached. I had examined the menu, picked up local tips (peppered mackerel), and outlined my full order in my note book. 5 herring fillets with cream and onion, 5 no cream, (side singles of each for me!), half lb of chicken liver, quarter lb of chicken liver, half lb of Whitefish, and 4 pepper mackerel fillets. What impressed me most about the herring was how fresh and clean the flavor was. The filets were hand cut, cream and onion added when ordered not days before. This was a far cry from the store bought premixed cans/jars. Unbelievable.
Sunday night we had a full spread of Riesling, beer, kielbasa, wallace mustard, pretzels, asparagus with shallots and figs, mushroom perogies, pickled herring, whitefish salad, chicken liver, and mackerel. It was incredible.