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Apr 1, 2010 07:15 AM

Russ & Daughters

I am hosting out of town guests for an Easter brunch and want to serve bagels and smoked salmon. Russ & Daughters is my neighborhood spot, but I have found their salmon to be mediocre at best. Maybe I am ordering the wrong thing? What type of salmon do the R&D regulars recommend? FWIW I think the best smoked salmon in this town is at Agata and Valentina on the UES -- super sweet and mild. I just don't know that I'll have time to get up there before my guests arrive. Thanks all!

Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Agata & Valentina
1505 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

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  1. I have gotten the best smoked salmon at R&D of anywhere...the folks who work there are very helpful. I would suggest you let them know what you're seeking and then let them advise you. They will give you samples and you can choose what you like.

    1. R&D sells many types of salmon. Describe what you want and taste samples and then choose.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gutsofsteel

        The pastrami smoked salmon is outstanding. I also tried the super heebster for the first time the other day... wow.

      2. the gaspe salmon is buttery and amazing at Russ and Daughters. maybe you are ordering the lox there, which is on the salty side.

        1 Reply
        1. re: eeee

          If you prefer a mild smoked salmon, I highly recommend the gaspe. I live nearer to Agata & Valentina, but prefer the gaspe at R&D.

        2. As much as I love R&D, their prices can be a bit over the top.

          Fairway has delicious pre-sliced packaged Nova (and other varieties),
          which I believe comes from Acme Smoked Fish.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pbjluver

            I sometimes get pre-sliced at Zabar's or elsewhere, though I have found Acme to be inferior -- salty and tough with gray areas that should be trimmed...but comparing pre-sliced to the hand-sliced stuff at R&D is really like apples and oranges. It's pricey at R&D, yes, but the quality, texture, and flavor are the reason why -- and trimmed to perfection so no waste.

          2. Thanks for these tips. I will definitely ask for samples and recommendations when I go in this weekend.

            5 Replies
            1. re: gypsyliz

              Be sure to ask for a taste of the Balik, the Rolls Royce of salmons. I think R&D labels it Scottish. In this photo, it's sitting on the top shelf of the case:

              Attached is a photo of Balik slices.

              1. re: RGR

                What is "Balik" and where does it come from? sounds like maybe the proper name for "Belly" lox. which is always my choice.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  Definitely not belly lox. Here's the background on Balik salmon:

                  1. re: RGR

                    And here's a link on belly lox, not smoked salmon at all, but salt-brine cured:

                2. re: RGR

                  I agree, this is my favorite at R&D. I think they call it "Baltic" though? It's not very orange, and it's extremely smokey and very good. The gaspe is a good choice if you like it mild. I've had good scottish salmon there as well. The belly lox is extremely salty (as you would expect -- it's salt-cured and not smoked), too salty for me. They will let you sample every type of salmon, so pick one that you like, and keep in mind that if you're going to serve it on a sandwich with bagels and cream cheese, you might like something with a bit more assertive flavor than you would choose if you were going to eat it standing alone. I love Russ & Daughters.

                  Russ & Daughters
                  179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002