A Sandwich a Day: Pastrami Russ at Russ & Daughters
In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
One good fish deserves another, which is why a herring field trip to Russ & Daughters ended with a fish sandwich worth a trip of its own: the Pastrami Russ ($11.10). It isn't just a fish sandwich: it's three proud Jewish food traditions in one.
That is: 1) lox masquerading as 2) pastrami with mustard and sauerkraut on a 3) bagel or bialy. The bialy is pictured here, which I'd recommended for its looser crumb, which is more receptive to the mustard and sauerkraut that seep into it. It is, after all, Hot Bread Kitchen's bialy, the best you'll find in New York.
The heart of the matter is Russ's beautiful pastrami-style lox, which is assertively smoked but still decidedly fishy and fatty, and more true to its fishy roots than other versions I've had at like-minded fish shops. The fish is sliced by hand to an impressive thinness, and though biting through this whole package takes a bit of work, the salmon just melts in your mouth. On first bite it's a dead-ringer for pastrami on rye, but the clean-tasting lox lacks the slick heaviness of pastrami's beef fat. That means you can take down one of these sandwiches without having to take a nap afterward, and you don't need to sacrifice an ounce of salt, spice, or smoke in doing so.