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Where to buy Caviar? Hackleback?

Is Russ Daughters my best bet?

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  1. No caviar enthusiasts? What recession?

    1. They have all that at Zabars
      You can also go online to Kelly's Katch

      19 Replies
        1. re: AubWah

          Zabars appetizing counter is just as good as Russ and Daughters. Get their cured and smoked fish as well when you go.

          1. re: MVNYC

            Thread drift (sorry), but *much* prefer Russ & Daughters for smoked fish to Zabar's

            1. re: zin1953

              Well that's wrong. Not only do they source their fish from the same place but the fish cutters are just as experienced. If not more.

              1. re: zin1953

                zin - I do too, but also don't see how anyone can truly go wrong with either. if I'm closer to the LES, then Russ + Daughters; UWS, Zabar's. that is a long schlep to consider.

              2. re: MVNYC

                No way that Zabars; is "as good" as Russ and Daughter's, though you can find caviar & hackleback there.

                Plenty of smoked fish comes from the "same sources." R & D just gets dibs on the best of the best.

                1. re: mitchleeny

                  While the smoked fissh at Russ and Daughters probably is better (I presonally prefer Fairway.. I live up here so am not going downtown to get Nova for a Sunday bagel) The caviar is a jarred commodity... if they have the same brands, they are the same..

                  1. re: mitchleeny

                    To me it seems people just believe the hype of Russ and Daughters over other sources. The cutters and the fish are just as good at Zabars. I grew up in NYC, I think the Russ and Daughter's fixation on Chowhound is due to the fact that many transplants to the city first lived on the LES or EV and this was their first place they experienced appetizing.

                    Don't get me wrong, Russ and Daughters is awesome.

                    1. re: MVNYC

                      I also would add that people who slice R&D smoked salmon are often less than careful and this often results in thick pieces--the people at Citarella's in the West Village are far more careful (and their smoked fish from Maine and Scotland are equal to Acme products--something that CH posters rarely acknowledge.) But as MVNYC says, "R&D is awesome" yet they may at times be victims of their popularity (with tourists showing up ordering bagel sandwiches--Super Hebe-- etc and thinking it's a sit-down place.)

                      As to the caviar, I've had it from both Zabars and RD, Petrossian (and each are equally good--remember that the whole caviar business is pretty shady at times (more than one well known purveyor has been busted for smuggling, mislabeling, etc) so caveat emptor.

                      1. re: penthouse pup

                        The real caspian caviar biz is very suspect... and environmentally unsound.... I only buy the farmed stuff or the hackleback... these are much cleaner sourcing lines. I am no authority on the stuff some top chefs have gone to farmed 100%

                        1. re: MVNYC

                          >>> I think the Russ and Daughter's fixation on Chowhound is due to the fact that many transplants to the city first lived on the LES or EV and this was their first place they experienced appetizing. <<<

                          Is that possible? Absolutely. But I will say -- as a NON-resident of New York -- that when I've bought fish at Zabar's, it was indeed good, but not AS good as when I've purchased it as Russ & Daughters . . . .

                          1. re: zin1953

                            I would bet a lot of money that if you did a blind taste test you would not be able to tell the difference

                            1. re: MVNYC

                              The point is not whether or not I could tell the difference -- I might, I might not; and I readily admit I have not done a side-by-side tasting -- but rather, when returning a) to my friend's apartment, and b) home, I was twice DISAPPOINTED in the smoked fish from Zabar's.

                              FWIW, this was long before I ever heard of Chowhound OR Russ & Daughters.

                              Presuming that all three are readily available, conveniently located, and that none are having any particular/specific sales: what is the difference between Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom's, or Saks Fifth Avenue? Basically none. So, you shop where you prefer -- and why do you prefer? Perhaps it's the selection (one has more of what you're looking for), perhaps it's the store's ambiance, perhaps it's the salesperson who knows your name . . . whatever.

                              I have been disappointed in the smoked fish I've gotten from Zabar's. Taht hasn't happened to me at Russ & Daughters. As I live in California, and only visit New York for 4-7 days, once a year, I shall continue to go where *I* prefer, over those I do not, when it comes to purchasing things to bring back home -- ergo, until Russ & Daughters disappoints in some dramatic fashion, or unless there is a raft of horrible reviews, I shall quite happily return to Russ & Daughters for my five pounds or so of smoked fish as my last stop in New York before heading off to JFK . . .

                              1. re: zin1953

                                I wasn't disparaging Russ and Daughters at all. But as someone who is lucky enough to have lived near both and having shopped at both I can definitely tell you the quality is the same. The fish cutters at Zabars have been there for years as have most of the guys at Russ, both skilled at slicing. Keep going to Russ and Daughters, it is a local treasure. I am just pointing out that it isn't the only game in town and I think people on the "internet" seem to prefer it because they are the "sandwich people".

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  I recall reading an interview with Baron Elie Rothschild in Decanter at least 30 years back where he claimed his favorite accompaniment to Lafite was smoked salmon (!) I couldn't afford Lafite then and wouldn't burn a grand on a bottle now, but with 5 lbs in the suitcase, might be a nice opportunity to raid your wine cellar for something like that? Hope you enjoy the stash!

                                  1. re: penthouse pup

                                    Well, in this specific case, it was for our Chanukah party last night . . . barely had enough left over for a taste this morning!

                            2. re: MVNYC

                              No - my "fixation" is due to the fact that the variety of salmon offered at R & D trumps that available at any other store in the city.

                              Also, the herring, sable, and let's not forget the best whitefish salad I've ever tasted.

                              BTW, the first place I lived in the city was on the UES and then my favorite was Sable's.

                              1. re: mitchleeny

                                Sable's is another good place. Run by a couple of guys who used to work at Zabars.

                      1. Seafood section @ EATALY
                        Lobster Place or Buon Italia @ Chelsea Market
                        Petrossian Boutique
                        Dean & Deluca SoHo
                        Calvisius @ Four Seasons Hotel

                        1. Just had caviar from Russ & Daughters --- perfect!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: zin1953

                            What kind did you buy? I'm planning on going this week myself.

                              1. re: zin1953

                                Thanks, that's something I've never even tried so looking forward to it all the more!

                                1. re: coll

                                  It's very good . . . it's also (for me) the perfect balance between quality/flavor and $$$$