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Russ and Daughters vs. Katz's

Okay, so I know this question will probably draw out people's strong feelings on either side, but...
I am visiting for the week from the Pacific Northwest where there are no Jewish delis. I would like to go for lunch to a great Jewish deli, preferable LES, Village area. My only thoughts as of now are that I would like to bring home a good Jewish deli rye and that I probably will not eat a pastrami sandwich. Otherwise I'm open. Do you recommend one of these restaurants over the other (keeping in mind the probability that I will not have pastrami)? Is there another that I should go to instead? Are there specific menu recommendations at either?
I would appreciate your input greatly! Thanks so much.

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  1. Russ & Daughters is a shop that specializes in smoked fish. I like to buy some chubs there and take them to Katz to enjoy with my pastrami sandwich.

    http://www.russanddaughters.com/

    If you are not going to eat a pastrami or corned beef sandwich, then you probably don't want to go to Katz unless you just want a hot dog and a knish.

    Also, Katz DOES NOT take credit cards, only cash.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scagnetti

      the matzo ball soup is excellent, as well.

      1. re: wleatherette

        Really? Oooh. Don't forget the brisket!

      2. re: Scagnetti

        I think Katz's does take credit cards. I was there for lunch just a couple of weeks ago and used one.

        1. re: Felixnot

          I called them and you are correct, they do. But they didn't use to.

          1. re: Scagnetti

            They have been taking credit cards for a long time. The trick is to pay, not at the cashier, but at the rear counter by the salami sales. Also gets you out quicker as you don't have to wait at the long cashier line.

      3. Considering they are less than 200 feet apart...why not go to both. Note, however, that Russ and Daughters is not a restaurant.

        That being said...the pastrami at Katz is excellent, but apparently so is the tongue and hot dogs. As for R&D, I go for the basic: lox on a bagel with plain cream cheese. There's no better interpretation (to my knowledge). Smoked fish is great there too.

        As for rye bread - the really, really, really good stuff simply isn't made anymore. I like the rye at Katz, but I know what people mean when they say it "isn't the same as it used to be".

        1 Reply
        1. re: dkstar1

          I fing excellent Rye at Polish stores in Brooklyn. Try Eagle Provisions, or any of the kiszkas in Greenpoint. W. Nassau (aka Kiszka) and Polam are good bets.

        2. R&D is not a restaurant Its a gourmet shop that sells appetizing

          1. russ and daughters isn't a restaurant, so by default katz's is your choice. however, r&d is a must-visit for the smoked fish, the beautiful dried fruit, and the various appetizers (herring, chopped liver, etc).

            1. Wow, you all are quick. Thanks for the responses. Does Russ and Daughters not have tables then, so if you get food there, such as the bagel & cc, you get it to go?
              Does Katz's have blintzes? How well would whitefish travel on an airplane? That might be risky...
              I can definitely go to both since they're so close together, and see what I'm in the mood to eat. Maybe something from each?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ScarletB

                No. No tables inside. Don't see why a smoked whitefish couldn't travel for a few hours on a flight. Why not have a sandwich at Katz and take stuff for the flight from R & D.