Whenever I want to bring out-of-town guests to a very “New York” type of restaurant, I always take them to Russ and Daughters Cafe. It’s historic, having operated since 1914, and they preserve the look and feel of that era with the attractively retro decor that looks like something out of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or “Mad Men”. And more importantly, the food is great–think traditional Jewish deli foods like latkes, matzo ball soup and smoked fish spreads. The only downside is that for brunch, the restaurant only takes walk-ins, and you’re guaranteed to wait for at least an hour. But I say it’s worth the wait. Suck it up, put your name down, get coffee somewhere else, and come back when you get that wonderful text saying your table is ready.
I recently went back to Russ and Daughters for a family brunch–and yes, we waited an hour–and tried out a few new things. One was a new smoked fish platter, the Anne, to be specific, and we were particularly impressed by the quality of the sable and the salmon. We also included some reliable repeats like the latkes and the matzo ball soup in our order, which felt like catching up with an old friend. My parents agreed that this was an “only in New York” dining experience that you couldn’t get anywhere else and they weren’t disappointed!
Russ and Daughters Cafe
127 Orchard St (between Rivington and Delancey St)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 475-4880 ext. 2