"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Russ & Daughters - October 20, 2010

If I habitually poke my head into any store that sells items vaguely resembling food, then surely I must also stick my head into this famous food emporium.  In addition, my palette has been recently tainted by the abominable smoked piece of orange glob of fat that Freshdirect passes off as smoked salmon (yes, I was too lazy to trot over to Zabar's); thus it needed to be cleansed by some real smoked salmon. 

Stepping into the friendliest greetings by food specialty store standard, I stood in deep concentration in front of the glass cases.  Now, herrings - they seemed overdue for another reevaluation: The best herrings that I had had were at Aquavit; but even they were not enticing enough to get me over to the Nordic region.  It is only natural to want to visit countries where there is food that you like enough to eat three, four or as many times a day as you want for the duration of the trip, as opposed to for the mere sustenance purposes.  Aquavit did not speak up much for Scandinavia, but will these herrings and smoked fish change my view so that I would book the next flight out to the homeland of Mr. Russ?  Remembering my favorite at Aquavit being the curried herrings, I ordered that and the cream & onion because I could never walk out of a new store with just one of anything - minimum two versions (so you see how much discipline I am exercising in the area of macarons - NY macarons have just been breaking my heart with its failures). 

Tasting: The herrings were beautiful - fresh, thick and fleshy.  Largely cut into 1-inch wide stripes, they seemed as formidable as herrings could possibly look.  The curried herrings - could I mention again the meatiness of the herrings? - were a little too sweet, falling short of Aquavit.  Cutting out one-third of the sugar would have made the curry and the astringent mustard stand out. These alone would not lure me to a gastronomic trip over to Poland.  However, the cream & onion was a joyful combination of acidity, sweetness, creaminess and sharpness.  Served on top of the crispy bread, they were a perfect light meal. 

Smoked Salmon
Moving on to the next item on agenda, the smoked salmon, I selected the Norwegian in order to avoid the recurrence of the fatty nightmare.  The smoked salmon had enough fat to round out its fishiness but not so much that it would start clogging your esophagus all the way to the artery. Added into a salad of avocado and cucumber and dressed with some creme fraiche and freshly ground wasabi, the smoked salmon exuded the right saltiness to set off the other ingredients in the salad (of course, fresh wasabi from Japan did its part as well).

All in all, I suppose Poland is still on my radar for countries yet to visit.

Russ & Daughters
Address:  179 E Houston St. New York, NY 10002
Phone:  (212) 475-4880

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