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Russ & Daughters, Jewish Foods at 79 E. Houston Street, Lower East Side - Family-Owned since 1914


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I had the immense pleasure of eating dinner on Tuesday night at the R&S Cafe. Very friendly service and not surprisingly not too busy on a Tuesday evening (I'm sure weekend brunch must be packed). Started with a very nice Lower East Side gin cocktail and a bowl of mushroom barley soup that comes with their shishel rye. I was especially excited to try this and some of their other breads after reading about how they've brought back some older Jewish-style breads for the cafe. Soup was good but not great and bread was good but again not great.  What was AMAZING and really induced a foodgasm was the herring plate. This is why you go here. Yes they likely have very good smoked salmon but so do a number of other places. Very few places anywhere in the US have homemade delicious herring. The herring plate is a big portion of a whole pickled herring filet (excellent and goes great plain or with the 3 sauces), my favorite the matjes sweet herring - you get about 1/2 a fillet (IMHO if a sushi restaurant served pieces of this as part of an omakase menu - people would flip - it is just that good), another 1/2 filet of very salty schmaltz herring (a bit too salty for my taste but you can mellow it with the pickled onions and cream sauce), and 2 rollmops (German style stronger brine, small pickled herring fillets rolled out pickled sweet onions) - they were good too but a bit hard to eat.  The fish was great quality and it comes with several slices of good pumpernickel and 3 cups of cream sauce, curry sauce, and mustard sauce (the latter was my fave but I'm a sucker for mustard). I managed to save room in my chazer belly for the second foodgasm - Halva ice cream with salted caramel drizzle and sesame seeds with halva crumbles.  Wow this was really really good - sweet but not too sweet and super creamy. If you like Halva or even caramel flavors, I'd recommend it.  Definitely recommend you go and likewise enjoy herring heaven (with the side of ice cream).

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