Lox of Love: Party Hosting with Russ & Daughters

By Lindsey Tauer April 25, 2019 

Russ & Daughters is a New York City institution, slicing salmon on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for over 100 years, it is THE destination for bagels and lox and all associated accoutrements. The appetizer store (not to be confused for a deli- more on that later) is one of those rare NYC landmarks that you take your out of town guests to but actually frequent on a regular basis in your normal life too. Now with 4 locations in NYC and nationwide shipping available, the very busy fourth generation co-owner, Josh Russ Tupper, sat down with us to share a few of his favorite menu items and hosting tips with Russ & Daughters!

Co-Owners Josh Tupper & Niki Federman, Russ & Daughters
Josh Tupper | Russ & Daughters

Q

What's your go-to order at the Russ & Daughter counter?

A

I love “The Mensch” which is a buttered bialy with sturgeon.  It’s straightforward and simple but has a wonderful fusion of subtle flavors.

Q

If a customer is visiting for the first time what items are a must try?

A

A new customer needs to try a classic bagel and lox.  We have a smoked salmon for all taste and with the help of an expert counter person they can choose the right salmon for them and pick a bagel and cream cheese for the perfect Russ & Daughters experience.

Q

If we’re a regular customer (Super Heebster all day, everyday!) how do we take our order to the next level? Are there secret menu items that only the R&D VIPs know about?

A

Haha!  The short answer is there is not a secret menu.  But…we do aim to please and if you really are a regular and have special request we will attempt to make it happen.  We also pride ourselves on having customers with extremely high standards and not all requests can be accommodated.

Josh Tupper, Russ & Daughters
Courtesy of Russ & Daughters

Q

Let’s say we need that Nova hit STAT, what’s the best way to hack the line? Is there a time of day that the deli is less busy? Something tells me there are people waiting outside when you open in the morning…

A

First, Russ & Daughters is an Appetizing Store and not a deli.  A deli sells meat and an Appetizing Store sells smoked and cured fish and cream cheese.  This distinction came about because of Kosher dietary laws where meat and dairy is not ok to eat together.  The original store on Houston is not a kosher establishment but we are kosher style.  It’s hard to say when the store won’t be busy but often just before we close at 6:30 is a good time to come or first thing in the morning at 8.  That being said the weekends are a lot busier than weekdays.

Q

We want to cater a brunch party with Russ & Daughters, what’s your suggested order and how do we supplement? Favorite drink pairings? Playlist?

A

We have a great selection of platters to choose from and I would recommend the classic catering package with a stuffed whitefish.  You can supplement it with some egg salad, tuna salad, wasabi roe and fresh squeezed orange juice.  For drinks you should have champagne for mimosas and seltzer to add to the OJ.   My musical tastes are all over the place but a nice selection of classic jazz is always a good bet for a playlist.

Q

You are stranded on a dinner party desert island and can only bring one beverage, one appetizer and one dessert, what do you choose?

A

Sazerac, Pigs in a blanket, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Q

Tell us about the best party you've been to!

A

My close friend used to throw a Jazz Party weekly a few years back and it was epic.  Great food, cocktails and a varying assortment of musicians that rolled in and jammed.  It felt like you were in old New York at an underground club.

Q

What's the last thing you drank?

A

If you mean alcoholic a Sazerac.  Non-alcoholic, coffee.

Q

Favorite host/hostess gift to give or receive?

A

My wife is a florist so we often bring flowers which are always very well received or a bottle of wine.

Q

If you could invite 7 people to dinner, dead or alive, who would it be?

A

Lebron James, John Stewart, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Steven Hawking, Albert Einstein, Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Tell Us What You Think

Lindsey Tauer

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.

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