Umami Mart Barware
Preface:
Loisaida Throwback Crawl: Kossar's Bialy
Loisaida Throwback Crawl: Doughnut Plant
Loisaida Throwback Crawl: Pickle Battle
Loisaida Throwback Crawl: Vanessa's Dumpling House

From the Dumpling House, we started towards Houston Street to make a stop at Russ & Daughters (R&Ds). Full disclosure- I had NEVER stepped foot in this LES "appetizing" institution. SHAMEFUL!!! So this was a huge treat for me- why I never went is a mystery to me.

We walked past the weird bathroom building plopped in the middle of the Allen and Delancey. Do they ever open the actual bathrooms??? I always wonder when I walk by.

According to their awesomely informative website, Joel Russ opened his first shop of salt-cured fish on Orchard Street in the LES in 1914. He had three daughters who eventually joined the business. R&Ds is thought to be the first shop backended with the name "& Daughters." Wow!!!

Today, R&Ds is on Houston, and their shop is a part of the National Register of Historic Places. Many family members- grand and great-grandchildren of Joel Russ- work there today. It's a shop selling traditional Jewish smoked fish, schmears, salads, sweets and side dishes. They call this "appetizing."

Here's a bit about the concept from their website:
"Appetizing” is a Jewish food tradition that is most typical among American Jews, and it is particularly local to New York and New Yorkers. The word “appetizer” is derived from the Latin “appete,” meaning "to desire, covet, or long for.” Used as a noun, “appetizing” is most easily understood as "the foods one eats with bagels.” Its primary components are a variety of smoked and cured salmon, homemade salads, and cream cheeses... Continue here.

The interior of R&Ds is so delightful! It's minimal and clean with their white tiled floors and all the fishes/appetizers/schmears are perfectly aligned in sparkling glass cases. Such eye-popping colors!

Caviar, roe, and schmears.


Olives and marinated fish.


Whole smoked trout and fish. Check out the variety!


Portrait of presumably the founder, Joel Russ.


Todd: In the herring and cream sauce department, I think Russ & Daughters is very good, better than the stuff from Zabar's I bought to compare later (Zabar's had a metallic aftertaste) . I should compare them against Barney Greenglass, my local area joint which some people think is the gold standard.

Kayoko: The cream and herring, with slices of raw onion, was unlike anything I've ever tried. Not unlike the flavors I remember from Sweden, though. I would never think to put these ingredients together, but the onions definitely offset the intensity of the herring.

Paystyle
: R&Ds are great at what they do: smoked fish & confections. I always pick up the Turkish apricots when I go.


The "Super Heeb" sandwich: featuring a combo of whitefish and baked salmon salad and a horseradish cream cheese schmear on a bagel topped off with a spoonful of wasabi-infused flying fish roe.


Troy: This certainly made generations of bagel purists roll in their graves, but the kick of the wasabi and the saltiness of the roe added a memorable spark to an already tasty combination.

Kayoko: I had read about his sandwich a year ago in Time Out NY and have been dying to try it since. The combination of wasabi, fish and bagel was a bit bizarre, but ultimately the crunch from the roe added the right bit of zap.

Todd: I thought the sandwich was good, but even though I like wasabi, the whole thing seemed a little bit overdone and too complicated to me.

Troy: I'm salivating right now as I reminisce about this kickass sandwich. OMG. I want that sandwich right now.

Kayoko: Me too. And I love the wrapping it comes in!

Will be back tomorrow for the Grand Fucking Finale: Katz's Deli. Of course. Check out all previous Umamiventures here. Thanks to my trusty iPhone for all the pictures. Make sure to join the UM Facebook group to stay updated on all future Umamiventures.