If you live on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, you know you’ve made it. After over 100 successful years in the Lower East Side, Russ & Daughters made the move uptown and recently opened a new location at the Jewish Museum.
The restaurant and “appetizing counter” is located downstairs in the museum. Once you’ve gone through the metal detector and go downstairs, you’ll be greeted by a brightly lit space, bustling with energy and the buzz of people waiting for a table.
The “appetizing counter” looks like the one on the Lower East Side, even down to the assortment of smoked and pickled fish.
If you play your cards right and come early, seating is no problem. We arrived right after they opened and were quickly seated.
As with being on the Upper East Side, I experienced a bit of sticker shock. The same menu item that cost $16 in the Lower East was priced at $22 here, reflecting a 37.5% increase in price. The prices here include gratuity so it’s not quite as big a jump, but it’s still pretty hefty. I will admit, however, the service was quite nice and attentive (thanks, Avi) and the hostesses were very friendly. Even the men working the counter were courteous and patient, which can be quite a challenge once this place gets crazy busy.
My husband, who loves Eggs Benedict, got the Eggs Benny – poached eggs, smoked Scottish salmon, sautéed spinach, Hollandaise and challah. Somehow the price mark up on the Eggs Benny was not quite as severe ($18 vs $23). I’m not particularly into Eggs Benedict, but I have to say that the challah was a revelation. Light with a slight sweetness, this challah was the best I’ve ever had. I immediately hatched plans to see if it was possible to bring one back to Los Angeles with me.
After much debate, I ordered the Classic board (Nova smoked salmon, tomato, onions, capers and bagel) since the Lower Sunny Side (eggs, smoked salmon and latkes) wasn’t available at this location. I was slightly disappointed to see only three slices of salmon, especially since the board cost $22, but after I ate it, I realized that it was the perfect amount.
For a better bang for your buck, head to the Lower East Side. If you live uptown and are willing to pay for convenience, chances are the higher prices at this location won’t trouble you either. I mean, who thinks they are going to get a bargain uptown? As for me, it was a bit like seeing how the other half lives – oh, and I like it.
Location – 1109 5th Ave. at the Jewish Museum. On the Lower East Side with the Store at 179 E. Houston and Cafe at 127 Orchard St., 10002
Website – http://russanddaughters.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes