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Is there anyplace like Russ & Daughters in Boston?

For those who are unfamiliar, Russ & Daughters is a shop in Manhattan that, among other things, makes phenomenally good lox, cream cheese, and bagel sandwiches. A couple of years ago, on a visit, I had a toasted everything bagel with scallion cream cheese and hand-sliced Nova lox, and that damn sandwich is currently haunting my dreams. Anyplace in greater Boston where I can hope to replicate the experience, or do I need to get on the train south?

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  1. No. You might try Bazaar International Gourmet on Beacon Street in Brookline: http://www.bazaarboston.com/?mode=men...

    As far as great lox & bagel that meets your expectations, Lendy's Deli in Saugus is very good, probably the best I've had like a real NYC delicatessen. http://www.lendysdeli.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: latertater

      The Allston location of Bazaar also has a remarkable selection of preserved fish. I always get kind of paralyzed when I look at that section because I just don't know where to begin.

    2. In short, no. R&D does deliver, it just costs a lot. I am partial to Barry's Village Deli in Waban if you are looking for the experience and some good Deli food (fresh bagels, but not made in house, both nova and belly lox). If I were trying to make the best bagel and lox possible in Boston, I would order delivery from R&D and get fresh bagels (whatever is warm) from Katz's in Chelsea.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ScotchandSirloin

        Agree completely.

        No real substitute for R & D in Boston. I'm a 30+ year Boston reident by way of NY and really dislike the BOS/NY comparisons but we simply don't have that kind of store. Even NY only has a few. Barry's is my "go to" in BOS but I've heard good things a bout the place mentioned in Saugus and a place in Swampscott..Evanss? I do shop at Bazaar also.

        eta..Michaels, which is named later in the thread is also on my list...1 of my favorite for corned beef.

        There was a store on Harvard St,, Brookline that trucked in smoked fish from R & D but they closed a few years ago.

        1. re: ScotchandSirloin

          Did not know that something in Boston with a real fish platter other than lox even existed in the Boston area. Definitely going to give Barry's a try. Thanks!

        2. There is nowhere like R&D in Boston. However the hand cut nova lox from The Butcherie in Brookline is excellent and up to the task of replicating your experience. You would need to assemble the other components to your sandwich elsewhere.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gabatta

            I'm in Philly and recently ordered from R&D. It is so worth the cost of shipping to have their lox, ( we got two types), their whitefish salad is mixed with baked salmon and is outstanding. We also got bagels and babka. Nothing comes close here in Philly.

          2. You might try Michael's Deli in Coolidge Corner. He gets his corned beef from New York and possibly the bagels too. Great deli sandwiches IMHO the best of the Brookline area.

            1. I usually just grab some Pence&Co.Nova and an Iggy's bagel from Whole Foods....Not even close to R&D, but not bad.

              1. I usually just grab some Spence and Co. Nova and an Iggy's bagel from Whole Foods...Not even close to R&D, but not bad either.

                2 Replies
                1. re: phatchris

                  Good summation.

                  I doubt I need to mention this to you; Chris;cuz you already know but for new readers; Spence sells a few grades. You want to buy most heavily smoked....if you enjoy stronger flavors..as I do.

                  Spence make a good product but they offer a mild smoked in addition to the good stuff.

                  1. re: 9lives

                    I agree - my favorite is their Traditional Scottish Style, which seems to be the smokiest.

                2. The short answer is no, nothing even comes close. If you really are pining for R&D, order from R&D online and get the real thing.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: mwk

                    ok, ok, every one has told the truth and there is nothing that will compare (though even the bagels in NY have become problematic). You can, however, get good stuff. The Butcherie carries a variety of handcut lox, as well as good quality Scottish smoked salmon, sable, white fish salad, kippered salmon, etc. Both Spence and Duck Trap make good to very good packaged smoked salmon. As to bagels, Iggy's are tasty though more like Montreal than Brooklyn bagels, and Breughers are tolerable. If you are ever in Great Barrington, go to the Great Barrington Bagel Company, across from Guido's market, where you will find the closest thing to an old-style NY bagel. Also, the Russian markets such as Bazaar and Baza carry quite a range of herring and smoked fish, as well as excellent salmon roe caviar (Peter Pan brand is generally reliable).

                    1. re: teezeetoo

                      The Blue Hill Bay brand of smoked salmon sold by Costco (made by Acme Smoked Fish in Brooklyn) is very good stuff, although the best hand-sliced Nova in New York--at Zabar's, Russ & Daughters, or Fairway--is probably a bit better. As for bagels, Bruegger's and Katz's in Chelsea make pretty good bagels; I agree that Iggy's bagels are good but definitely not New York-style.

                      1. re: owades

                        Acme supplies most of the NY appetizing stores; as well as Boston and other citiies. ..and Costco.

                        An Acme,smoked whitefish salad (ex) is the same product; whether in NYC or dozens of otther locations.

                        Where R & D shines is that they can sell dozens of their products..smoked whitefish, Alaskan black cod/aka sable, 10+ different salmon, 6+ herring. You get the point..:)

                        NY simply has the population that can support a speiallty store like that. Very few other places do.

                        1. re: 9lives

                          it's also because "appetizing" is a NY thing. I remember growing up in Queens when Sunday morning came along, I'd go with my dad to the local bagel shop where they'd all be hot out of the oven. Each of us would get a salt bagel along with a bagful for taking home and munch on that while we went to Waldbaum's and visited the "Appetizing" department at the deli and picked up the lox, whitefish, etc. for brunch. Even when I lived briefly in Hartford, the supermarket in West Hartford had an "appetizing" department. Once you cross over into MA however, that disappears.

                          Of course now that I've been away from NY for so long, I don't think the supermarkets there even have that department any more.

                          1. re: mwk


                            I think we're trying to say the same thing; with a change in the wording. The fact that I used the term "appetiziing store" and you knew what I meant indicates to me that we come frome similar backgrounds and share similar good memoriies of Dad's taking us for bagels and appeting stores on a weekend AM.

                            Sadly, most of these stores no longer exist; and fewere outside NY

                            The old classics like Canter's in LA or Wolfie's and Rascal House in Miami have either gone downhil, corporate or just closed down. Have heard good things about Zingerman's in Ann Arbor but never been.

                            Barry's in Waban still comes closest to what I grew up with but I'm open minded enough to try other suggesstions..just given up on duplicating R & D or even the avg appetizing store of my youth.

                      2. re: teezeetoo

                        I know Iggy's claims its bagel is modeled on Montreal style, but I don't think it's anything at all like Montreal bagels, which are sweeter, crumblier and flimsier than Iggy's. Both, IMHO, are overrated. Montreal bagels are insubstantial compared to a top quality NYC bagel (admittedly hard to find today, even in NYC). Iggy's bagels are nearly the opposite: too tough and chewy. All I see in common in their smallish size (which is preferable to those giant puffy monster bagels that currently abound). If you can get to Rosenfeld's or Katz's, great; otherwise I find underappreciated Bruegger's as close to a decent NYC bagel as can readily be found around Boston.

                        1. re: katzzz

                          i do agree with you, katzzz and forgot to mention Rosenfeld's which is my favorite (Katz's is not near me) - I do think Brueggers (well-baked and you have to ask or look) is closer to the small old-fashioned nyc bagel of my childhood than most of the bakery versions, other than Rosenfelds. If you are ever in the Berkshires, definitely go to Marvin's Great Barrington Bagel Company - these are the closest to childhood bagels that it gets for me. In truth, I can't find good bagels easily in NY (never was a fan of H & H) and even Kosar's bialis have gone down hill! Oy!

                          1. re: teezeetoo

                            Another vote here for Rosenfeld's. If someone does not know where they are, good luck finding them in Newton Center.

                    2. If you go to the Iggy's factory store in North Cambridge early on the weekends, they have a limited number of salmon bagels with cream cheese, onion, tomato, chives and capers. My wife and I split one every weekend.

                      1. Any chance the new Wegman's on Rt 9 will be a good source?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pamlet

                          I hear Wegman's is supposed to be great, but my guess is that a Waldbaum's would be required for smoked gold.

                        2. Not even possible. R & D is the best NYC has to offer. No way Boston comes close to that. I am trying to find someplace in Boston that sells a fish platter that has something on it other than just lox and white fish SALAD.

                          But, I do acknowledge that the whole white fish from Costco, which someone mentions comes from Acme in Brooklyn, is MIGHTY good.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: madprof

                            Barry's normally has at least 2 kinds of Lox, Whitefish Salad, Whitefish (not salad), Kippered Salmon and Sable.

                            1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                              The terms lox and smoked salmon are often usedd interchangeably. Lox/lachs/gravlax, etc are brined or cured with salt and not smoked. Gavlax is fairly easy to mak and their are recipes all over the web.

                              Smoked salmon is cured burt also smoked..labelled by the region that it comes from..commonly Nova That's why R & D offers so many varieties.


                              I'm referring to "cold smoked" which is what we generally think of on he East Coast. A lot of Alaskan/PNW is hot smoked..which can easily be done at home with a wet cedar plank over a low fire. Make sure your cedar plank is not treated; as is often done when it's being sold for home building.

                              1. re: 9lives

                                if you can get Asia Flavors of Jean-Georges, there is a good recipe for Gravilax though there are plenty of other good ones on the web.

                              2. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                So does The Butcherie, though the traditional small whitefish appear to have been in short supply most everywhere of late.

                            2. You can take your chances at the Baza supermarket(s), but, their quality seems a bit spotty to me. Good selection, though, so you might stumble onto something you like.

                              1. Perhaps the point has already been made.

                                R&D and Barney Greengrass in NYC ship. I am a Barney's guy, but I respect Russ and Daughters.

                                1. I have had good smoked fish from Rachael's (formerly Axler's) in Springfield. If you buy one of their pre-selected packages, prices are pretty reasonable. (springfieldsmokedfish.com). I have also stopped by their facility -- it is like stepping into the past.

                                  1. an update: i had the smoked salmon at BTs, and it was quite good. It is not nova lox.

                                    I also had the lox at Zabar's; it was excellent but not quite as good as Barney Greengrass.

                                    The upper west side is quite the place for good eating.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                      "The Upper West Side is quite the place for good eating." True, True... I went to high school with Sandy Zabar and Roger Klein (the Klein family is actually the hands on managers of Zabar's.)

                                        1. re: L2k

                                          Ditto on that Question. I googled and see that there is a BT Express Deli in East Islip, LI. I was thinking he was talking about the NYC area.

                                          1. re: L2k

                                            yes, BTs BBQ in Sturbridge, and i preferred it to the WF version.

                                            Though i would have to compare them one to another to make a definitive judgement.

                                            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                              Good to know. We have to make a trip out there -- next scheduled driveby is Labor Day, but they aren't open on Mondays :(