Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
For a while, I was scared of bagels. Breakfast was most of the time, bagel with a fried egg. (Mother&Co. had to make breakfast and lunch for 4 kids — I can’t blame her.) Then I started really liking bagels once I discovered cream cheese. Cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese was my fourth grade discovery, as I had seen a classmate with it at lunch time. Our family loves fresh Muesli bagels with raisins from Longos. That is something we just eat plain because it’s so good. (And by good, I mean tastes almost like a New York bagel. The right chew thanks to the gluten.)
Up at Columbia, Absolute Bagel was a hop away. My goodness, I finally knew why New Yorkers were obsessed with bagels. (I’ll do a review on Absolute because it deserves its own post.)
But lox and cream cheese is something I never bothered to try. Smoked salmon, from the few times I did have it, was always too fishy to taste.
I decided I just needed to have a cream cheese and lox bagel from Russ & Daughters. I read all the Yelp reviews, looked through their pictures and then proceeded to go on FourSquare to save it on my to-do list. It made me nervous to read about the lines and the frantic pace in there. I better get my order right before I go there, I thought.
I went in around 6:00 p.m. on a weekday and was surprised there was only a few people in there. No chaos, no screaming, no tourists.
I took a number and waited for someone to take my order.
“Mini bagel with lox and cream cheese please?” I timidly requested.
“What kind of bagel — we have plain, everything, poppy seed…,” the man behind the counter said.
I decided to go with everything and a smoked salmon that wasn’t “too intense and too salty.”
“Nothing here is too intense,” he added while slicing a sample of salmon for me to try. It was just a tad too salty for me.
I tried the Irish next and it was just the most mild and the one I chose.
The mini bagel with lox and scallion cream cheese and tomato came out to almost $10 and I was excited to have it for dinner.
I opened the bagel once I got home and realized it was a plain bagel.
The pairing of cheese cream and the smoked salmon was excellent and I liked it better than I expected. The bagel was a little hard so I toasted the remaining half. The cream cheese became melty and the lox slid off. I ended up eating it as a open faced sandwich.
I wish the guy hadn’t gotten my order wrong. I liked that he let me sample the different salmon, but for almost $10 a mini bagel, can I at least get what I ordered? I wanted sesame seeds stuck in my teeth and I didn’t get that from my plain bagel. If you’re looking for a nice intro to lox and cream cheese, Russ & Daughters is a place to start. Not the most affordable, but certainly quality.