Friday, October 23, 2009
My Favorite Deli
I just saw a poll being taken at the Huffington Post about the best delis in New York City, and was pleased to see Russ and Daughters near the top. ( #2 )
Russ and Daughters is an old fashioned (in a good way!) deli on the lower east side that specializes in smoked fish, pickled herring, lox, caviar and other delicacies.
We chanced upon it many years back. It was crowded with customers (a good sign), and everyone listened carefully as they called out which number was "next". While we were waiting for our pastrami lox-----beautiful salmon coated with crushed peppercorns------we saw an angry looking woman thrust a large tin of caviar onto the counter and demand a refund.
Naturally, they asked what the problem had been, and she declared, "It does not say anywhere on the package, 'refrigerate after opening', and my husband left it out. This was expensive, and the container should have included that information."
The clerk looked at her in disbelief and responded, "We cannot give a refund for that. The caviar was good, and you left it out, so that's your fault."
She reminded him that she thought the packaging was inadequate without the appropriate warning about refrigeration. The exchanges went back and forth a few rounds and when finally all the customers in the store were rolling their eyes and shaking their heads, the clerk said, "The can does not have to say that. Caviar is fish. Any idiot knows that you have to refrigerate fish!"
"But we're not talking about 'any idiot'! We're talking about my husband!"
There was a lengthy pause. "Number 87!"
"But I'm not finished!"
"Yes ma'am, you are!.....Next!!"
Customers surged between her and the counter, and she backed up, mouth gaping and gasping like a sturgeon out of water. The whole store erupted in laughter when the door finally closed behind her.
We've been back whenever we get the chance. If you ever want to check them out, be advised, they are closed every Saturday (naturally).