Day One: Russ & Daughters Cafe

By Kelly Dobkin  |  May 7, 2014

The gist: After 100 years of business, the folks behind iconic appetizing shop Russ & Daughters on Houston Street have opened their first full-service restaurant on nearby Orchard Street.

The space: With a soda shop-style bar counter in the front, the entire room has a retro vibe. Booth seating lines most of the restaurant and the walls are filled with custom shelves housing boxes of products like Streit's matzos and vintage signage advertising items like "kippered salmon." Black and white photos of friends and family line the other wall.

The food: The menu highlights the shop's selection of super high-quality cured and smoked fish available in a million different ways. From the "noshes" menu, which are essentially appetizer-sized snacks, there's the "Super Heebster"- whitefish and baked salmon salad with wasabi-infused roe, horseradish dill cream cheese on bagel toast ($10); the Pastrami Russ, with pastrami-cured salmon, muenster cheese, sauerkraut, mustard pickle on a pretzel roll ($12); and classics like latkes ($9), kasha varnishkas $6) and knishes ($8). There's a selection of soups like matzo ball, borscht and smoked whitefish chowder; a caviar menu and herring menu; a selection of egg dishes plus some super-baller fish platters served with bagels and bialys. Check out the full menu below.

The drinks: Classic egg creams are available in three varieties - chocolate, malt and carob plus alcoholic drinks including a selection of bloody marys (some using dill-infused vodka), housemade sodas like ginger lime and cucumber, a small beer list and more. 

The details: 127 Orchard Street; 212-475-4881

Russ Menu


  • "Sours" plate includes a full and half sour pickle, pickled fennel, onion, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower and carrot - $7

  • The facade

  • "The Super Heebster"

  • Interior signage

  • Classic chilled borscht

  • The iconic egg cream - malt on the left and chocolate on the right

  • Matzo ball soup, of course

  • Soda shop style bar counter