NYC’s Newest Bagel Institutions: Black Seed and Russ & Daughters Cafe

Bagels, smoked fish and tomato and onions from Russ & Daughters Cafe

Within the space a couple of weeks, two eagerly-anticipated restaurants, from a pair of beloved NYC institutions (one new, the other as venerable as it gets) opened in downtown Manhattan within a few blocks of each other. Which isn't really all that unusual in this big, beautiful, food-crazy town of ours… except in this case, the focus of the menu in both places is the bagel. Coincidence? Yes. A bonanza for all of us who worship this most exalted of all the city's breadstuffs? Absolutely. Go early, go often, but most importantly – make sure you go to both!

A bagel sandwich with smoked salmon and cured beets from Black Seed in New York City

Hand Rolled, Wood Fired Black Seed Bagels

First, the Montreal-style bagels of Black Seed. Co-owned by Noah Bernamoff, who has already given us the great Mile Ends (in Brooklyn and NoHo, both filled with Jewish-deli-style awesomeness), Black Seed has a wood-fired oven, Stumptown coffee, screaming-fresh toppings, and a menu packed with such amazing "signature sandwiches" as Beet Cured Salmon with horseradish cream cheese, radish and herb, pictured above. The bagels at Black Seed are smaller than you might be used to, and more dense, but there all hand-rolled, poached, and then baked in that oven right before you dig in. These are my new favorite bagel in the city. Black Seed is located on Elizabeth Street between Spring and Kenmare. 

Toasted bagel topped with spread and garnishing from Russ and Daughters Cafe

Russ and Daughters Cafe on Orchard

If you want more of a sit-down affair (breakfast, lunch, brunch, and/or dinner), the new Russ & Daughters Cafe is your move. In case you don't know the backstory, the Cafe opens 100 years after the appetizing store first made its appearance on the Lower East Side, which is still going strong on East Houston. The Russ & Daughters Cafe is shockingly large, cheekily designed and decorated, and an extremely pleasant place to spend an an hour or two wolfing down some of the city's best smoked fish, whether with eggs or as part of bagel platter. There are also other appetizing classics–borscht! herring!–on the menu. This is a huge win for the city, a place we can only hope will also be around for a century or two. Russ & Daughters Cafe is located on Orchard Street between Rivington and Delancey. 

Outside of Russ & Daughters Cafe, located on Orchard Street

Russ & Daughters Cafe on Urbanspoon

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