What's especially good to buy at Zabar's?
Zabar's virgin here. There seems to be so much of everything here I don't know where to start. Are they known for anything in particular? What do YOU love to buy there that you don't get anywhere else? If you were a visitor there from out of town, what would you be sure to get? Please be specific, not just 'breads' or 'cheeses'.
smoked salmon, sable, herring in cream sauce, whitefish, whitefish salad... all the jewish soul food.
Lox, best cut to order. As the previous poster mentioned, it's also a great place for other kinds of smoked fish.
Among the breads, I like the big (really big) round hearth bread that they cut into chunks of around 1-2 lbs.
The Russian Coffee Cake is excellent, which you can usually find right as you walk in on your right by the cheese counter.
Best deal in town: Go to the Zabar's Cafe next to the store and order the Nova Special--nova lox on a bagel with plain or chive cream cheese, a big kalamata olive, small fresh squeezed orange juice, and a coffee for around $6.
Loose Rugelach, best in the city (and therefore by definition, in the world).
Nova- I'm in the minority who prefer it to R & D. But ONLY cut to order, thin. There may have been a tiny bit of slippage in recent years though. Don't think they do better on other fish.
There's a vast selection of prepared foods which, I'm sorry to say, should be avoided at all costs - consistently disappointing.
Upstairs, check out the gadgets/housewares/pots & pans, etc. Great selection and usually the best prices in the city.
Zabar's Coffee? Ask for this blend...70% French/Italian+30% Mocha. I like it ground on #1, even for a Melita-style coffee machine. Delicious, rich cup of joe. Yum.