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Russ & Daughters bagels

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Just bought some bagels at Russ & Daughters after not buying their bagels for a while. They taste different and nowhere near as good as they used to be. Does anyone know if they changed their supplier, or where they get their bagels from? If their supplier is a bagel store that sells retail, I'd like to know so I don't wind up buying bagels there.

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

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  1. I've asked where they get their bagels from and was told it's a supplier in Queens.

    I think R&D's bagels are fine, but to be honest, the ones from the bagel bakery near our house in NJ are superior.

    Russ & Daughter photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Nice photos. Too bad they've since raised their prices :-(((.

      1. re: IWantFood

        Thanks for the compliment! :) As for prices, it's not as though they've ever been cheap. But I am willing to pay top dollar for quality, and when it comes to appetizing, R&D is, imo, tops!

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        1. re: RGR

          I agree. I'd been buying smoked fish at Fairway, which is more convenient, but was kind of in the neighborhood for R&D and decided to do a comparison. Yes, R&D wins.

    2. They used to get their bagels from Kossar's on Grand Street. If you're hankering for that
      that's where they used to get them. Of course the best bagels come from Essa-Bagel on First Ave and 22nd. They also get their Nova from Acme same as R&D. There other smoked fish doesn't move as much so for that you have to go to R&D.

      12 Replies
      1. re: meinNYC

        And before Kossar's, it was Moishe's, two doors down. Never anywhere in the world, have I seen three great stores back-to-back like R&D, Ben's Cheese Shop (how I miss the cream cheese with walnuts and raisin), and Moishe's. Moishe's was certainly the weakest of the three, but the pumpernickel bagel was a work of art.

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          Moishe's had a location on Houston that made bagels?

          1. re: sugartoof

            This was NOT affiliated with the bakery on 1st Ave., if that's what you have in mind.

        2. re: meinNYC

          The best bagels come from Essa?. Only if you like them huge and puffy with a soft exterior. I like them smaller with a good crusty exterior and less interior. They told me the bagels come from a Brooklyn bakery.

          1. re: stuartlafonda

            We love Ess-a-bagel!! They are great. Kossar's makes the best bialys!!

            1. re: stuartlafonda

              Essa-a Bagels are so huge and bready they overwhelm anything you put on them, and not at all authentic. Sort of like the Wonderbread of bagels. There is also a misconception about Acme. Many retailers, including Zabar's, buy there but there is a wide range of quality. The Acme smoked salmon sold at Food Emporium is not the same as that sold at Zabar's and perhaps Russ and Daughters. The high-end places have their pick and charge accordingly.

              1. re: City Kid

                two things should be mentioned here:
                1. while they may get their product from acme, the fact that they have 4th generation in the store personally doing the inspection/buying guarantees a level of quality that i promise you will not find at piss-a-bagel
                2. because the store is small (i'm guessing 600 sq ft) as opposed to say zabar's they can buy less product and move it quicker, guaranteeing a fresher piece of fish

                and finally, acme is really good. as new yorkers we are lucky that places like BG, Zabar's, R&D are able to source their products there.

                1. re: El Tigre

                  The point that you are missing is that the higher end stores that buy and move a huge volume of smoked fish have far more leverage in getting the best product and leave the rest for others. See this article on Acme that explains how Saul Zabar is the only customer of hundreds "permitted to select — and frequently reject — the smoked fish."
                  http://www.nysun.com/food-drink/how-m...

                  1. re: El Tigre

                    So I'm a huge, huge fan of Russ & Daughters, but the logic that because they're smaller they move the product faster is seriously flawed. It certainly may be true that they move their product faster, but we can't determine that just because they're smaller.

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

                    1. re: Blumie

                      I agree. And in fact I think the quality of fish at Barney Greengrass and Zabar's is just as good as Russ.

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                      Barney Greengrass
                      541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        I second that, even better than R&D.

                  2. re: City Kid

                    Ess-A-Bagels are definitely NOT bready like some of the non-water bagels that I call bread rings. You can get one of those at Dunkin Donuts. They are huge but crisp on the outside with chewy insides. My lovley and talented wife complains that they are "TOO BIG". I eat half and save half for later.

              2. The last time I was @ Kossar's there were sveral bags with R&D written on them.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Motosport

                  I stand corrected. Went to Kossar's Friday and picked up a couple of dozen bialys for the holiday weekend. I asked about the R&D bagels. Answer: "We used to but they changed to a bakery in Brooklyn."

                2. I don go to RD for bagels.
                  Simply put, the bagel is secondary to the topping. With that nova, I dont even recognize the bagel is there.

                  But I agree, I love ess a bagel.

                  1. Essa-Bagels are not made in Brooklyn, you can see them baking them right in front of you. Vat of boiling water, oven, nice baker with paddle. They make smaller bagels if you request on special order. Always crusty, never suspiciously sweet, fast counter staff, line out the door on Sunday morning. Best NYC experience. And at $1 a piece the biggest bargain in NYC. Scoop out the interior and you'll have even
                    more room for fillings!

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                    Ess-a-Bagel
                    359 1st Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: meinNYC

                      By small bagels, don't you mean the mini bagels meant for kids or more likely, for cocktail parties?

                      I can't imagine Essa doing a custom batch and changing their style, but maybe if you ordered bulk.

                      I used to be a fan of them, but no longer. There's just no flavor, if you eat a plain bagel - plain, plus it settles/cools so hard that my mouth tires out from wrestling with it. They look the same, but the taste has changed for me.

                      1. re: meinNYC

                        Who said Essa makes them in Brooklyn? Anyone that has ever been in the store knows they are made there.

                      2. If you know Essa you know that their "small bagels" are the size of other places regular bagels.
                        And yes you do have to order in bulk. Freeze well too.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: meinNYC

                          Actually, Kossar's doesn't make their own bagels! They specialize in the ultimate bialy, which is a totally different process from a bagel. So, if Kossar's is supplying bagels, it's then going through 3 different hands...

                          1. re: menton1

                            I watched them make fresh bagels on a Saturday night only 6 months ago.
                            Unless something has changed since the, they make bagels.

                            1. re: menton1

                              Nope, been there and watched bagels and bialys come out of the ovens. Kossar's is for real. As far as I know they are the only place that calls themselves a Bialy bakery. Many of the bagel bakeries also make bialys. Some are good but never as good asKossar's.

                          2. There was a rumor of this happening in 2012, but is Russ & Daughters making their own bagels now, and if so, how are they? They weren't anything special in the past: http://www.grubstreet.com/2012/08/old...

                            Fine, fine, I'll admit to my motivations. Have your fun with the following ridiculousness: http://sfist.com/2014/02/08/this_is_w...

                            21 Replies
                            1. re: hyperbowler

                              Don't think so. There's talk of it when they expand to a sit down place.

                              I saw this pop-up advertised, and thought it was a dead giveaway it wasn't being organized by anyone knowledgeable. Russ & Daughter bagels barely hold up later in the day, let alone shipped overnight. Hopefully they were shipped frozen, and parbaked. When Miles End Deli was bringing in bagels from Canada, they were literally driving them in, supposedly with a same day turn around, but at least they went to a celebrated place to source their bagels.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                jumping in late, but I agree that R & D bagels have a very limited shelf life. I pick up a couple on just about every visit, and if I make a sandwich or spread within a couple hours of getting home (to queens), the results are great. even a half-day lag time, however, and they get incredibly dried out. the pumpernickel last a bit longer, but those aren't my favorites.

                              2. re: hyperbowler

                                Well, it would probably be equally popular, but a Kossars bialy popup in SF would be sorely un-needed (but not unkneaded): http://wisesonsdeli.com/

                                they are not quite as good as a hot-from-the-oven kossars bialy, but are better than a kossars bialy baked more than an hour ago.

                                1. re: tex.s.toast

                                  I'd take a day old Kossars over their fresh baked, personally.... but I really love Kossars.

                                  Anyway, R & D still isn't a bagel shop.

                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    wait, am i misreading - you PREFER day old Kossars bialys to the same product baked fresh?

                                    1. re: tex.s.toast

                                      I'd prefer a day old Kossar's, to something that's only so-so baked fresh. Yes. Wise Sons aren't a Bialy or Bagel shop. I like their rye, but the rest of their baked offerings are dry. The Babka is especially bad.

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        so you've had Wise Sons bialy and dont like it? what did you feel needed improvement to bring it up to Kossar's level?

                                        1. re: tex.s.toast

                                          They're just wrong. The dough is wrong. They put too much schmutz in the middle. Sometimes they're more like underbaked bagels. Sometimes they rise too much, and get shaped closer to bagels with a slight dimple where the hole would be. Sometimes there's no dimple at all. They're not really Bialys. They do no compare to Kossar's.

                                2. re: hyperbowler

                                  but is Russ & Daughters making their own bagels now, and if so, how are they?
                                  ________________________________

                                  Bagel Hole makes the bagels for Russ & Daughters.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Are you sure?

                                    Is that new? You'd never know it, if so. They still would have been better off getting bagels direct from Bagel Hole.

                                    (Looking at Yelp pics, some do look Bagel Hole like now.)

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      Are you sure?

                                      Is that new? You'd never know it, if so. They still would have been better off getting bagels direct from Bagel Hole.
                                      _________________

                                      Um, isn't that what I said? That Bagel Hole provides the bagels for RD?

                                      [scratching head]

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        They didn't order or advertise bagels DIRECT from Bagel Hole.

                                        They ordered and advertised bagels from a place that's not known for bagels, R & D.

                                        It's been a couple of years since I bothered with their bagels, but they weren't very Bagel Hole like at the time.

                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          I'm totally confused now.

                                          The "they" I am referring to is R&D.

                                          Who is the "they" you are referring to?

                                          All I know is that R&D gets their bagels from Bagel Hole, they don't even hide it. Ask, and they will tell you.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            We're talking about a pop up in San Francisco.

                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                              Maybe you are, but I was responding to hyperbowler's question of "but is Russ & Daughters making their own bagels now, and if so, how are they?"

                                              Anyhow, I'm out.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                We were at Kossar's in November at the crack of dawn and there was a huge sack of bagels labeled "Russ & Daughters," ready for pickup. That doesn't mean they're (R&D) not getting them from other places as well, I suppose.

                                  2. re: hyperbowler

                                    I am about to order from R&D, so would appreciate hearing from anyone who has tried them. What concerns me about pretty much all the "name" sources of bagels in NY is the disappearance of egg bagels. Ess-a-bagel, Murray's, etc - no egg bagels. Why?

                                    1. re: Just Visiting

                                      I haven't gotten bagels from R&D in a year or so, so I don't know if they've changed. I have liked them -- perhaps for the same reason some others don't -- because they are not puffy, bloated, and mammoth. They are traditional, and the way I like bagels to be, that is, a reasonable size, chewy, and a perfect foil for their smoked salmon and other specialties.

                                      1. re: City Kid

                                        Huh, perhaps the problem with their bagels is that they've spent enough time out of the oven that their quality has gone down by the time they get eaten. That's been my experience at least, but I've only been there at lunch time.

                                      2. re: Just Visiting

                                        For anyone interested in making the trip, there are at least 2 sources for (good) egg bagels on the UWS:
                                        Bagel Talk on Amsterdam Ave (77th/78th)
                                        Absolute Bagels on Broadway (107th/108th)

                                        1. re: Just Visiting

                                          Pretty sure all those places still sell egg bagels. Maybe they just don't offer them for shipping.