Search Results for: smoked fish

For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100. Let the gluttony continue…

If you ask just about anybody where to get smoked fish in New York, the answer will almost always be Russ & Daughters. And for good reason. This classic, old time Appetizing shop (a kosher food store that does not serve meat) slices some of the best varieties of smoked fish I’ve ever tasted.

But the game has changed a bit. A young guy named Peter Shelsky opened a similar shop in the family friendly neighborhood of Carroll Gardens and is now giving Russ & Daughters a run for their money. Not really. I’m not convinced that this little shop on Smith Street is worth the trip for tourists wanting to taste NY cuisine. Russ & Daughters is closer, larger, and has more history. But for those who live nearby, Shelsky’s is a gem.

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My search for the best bagels in New York continues….

When I walked by Zucker’s Bagels one night a few months back, I thought I had made a huge discovery. Based on the exterior, this looked like a classic bagel shop, yet I had never heard of it. Could it be brand new? Upon doing some research (read: googling), I realized I was not the first to uncover Zucker’s. They’ve been around for a handful of years and, in fact, are owned by Matt Pomerantz, the same owner of Murray’s Bagels and Leo’s Bagels. He’s quietly expanding his bagel empire in New York.

The internet chatter talks more about Zucker’s smoked fish and sandwiches then their bagels and cream cheese. I plan on devoting an entire search to smoked fish one day, so I’ll definitely return here. This review is solely about their bagels (and their careless service). It seems like Matt knows how to stock his stores with some great bagels, but he can’t seem to figure out the hiring process.

I was practically ignored while standing at the bagel counter. I already had browsed the options, taken some pictures, and stood eagerly waiting to be acknowledged. It never happened. It was as if I was completely invisible. The guys behind the counter made eye contact with me and kept on moving. Completely ignored.

When I finally spoke up and after another few minutes, I eventually got somebody to prepare two bagels with cream cheese for me. Nothing was hot anymore, so I settled on my default choices of plain and everything (I decided to try their Whole Wheat Everything, since I’m trying to be slightly healthier). It took an amazingly long time for them to prepare my bagel too! It looked like they were overstaffed and yet it still took forever to get my order.

But like I said, this review is about the bagels. So I sat down in their overly clean, modern cafe area that could have resided inside a suburban shopping mall. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Maroon 5 was playing on the radio. But it was clean and comfortable.

The bagels were pretty good. The Plain had a nice crunch, but was slightly airy inside. This was a large bagel, almost swollen (bigger than Murray’s) yet the texture was good, nice and chewy.

The Whole Wheat Everything was a little denser and slightly misshapen. The proportions of seasonings was evenly dispersed and the whole wheat flour gave it a malty, sweet flavor. It did err almost on the side of being burnt. Yet that darkness gave it a crunchy exterior, unfortunately the inside was also slightly hard, it didn’t have the soft, chewiness of the plain.

The other big complaint about Zucker’s was the price tag. I understand this is in the wealthy area of Tribeca, but my two bagels (one without cream cheese) came to $3.50. I usually don’t pay attention to the price of the bagels (it’s so nominal to begin with), but this was more than I was used to paying.

I applaud Matt Pomerantz for expanding his New York bagel empire, especially if the bagels remain tasty and properly cooked. I just hope he soon figures out a way to hire staff that are not borderline rude and completely unhelpful.

Does Zucker’s Bagels have the best bagels in NY? Like I continually have said in this review, it’s all about the bagels. So forgetting the terrible service and slightly generic atmosphere, the bagels themselves earn a 7 out of 10 since they were pretty good if slightly inconsistent.

ZUCKER’S BAGELS & SMOKED FISH
146 Chambers Street (between Broadway and Greenwich Street)
Tribeca
(212) 608-5844
zuckersbagels.com

Category: Bagels

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

As a kid, I was pretty averse to whitefish salad. As an adult, I realized how wrong I was. Or at the very least I had never tasted the stuff at Shelsky’s. The chunky meaty whitefish has an irresistible smokiness and creaminess. The fish pieces melt in your mouth and are nicely broken up by bits of crisp celery. Price: $5.50/quarter pound

SHELSKY’S OF BROOKLYN
141 Court Street (between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street),
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
(718) 855-8817
shelskys.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2015…

Smoked Whitefish Salad at MAIDEN LANE

Maiden Lane is trying to demystify the stigmas of eating fish from a can or a tin. They have bars just like this one all over Portugal and Spain where you can make a three-course meal from preserved sardines, mussels, and octopus. I love that they’re doing this here and I urge you to pop open a tin over a craft beer. But as a nice entryway into the world of preserved fish, try Maiden Lane’s excellent whitefish salad as an open-faced sandwich. It’s creamy and mildly salty and works wonders with cucumbers, pickled onions, and capers. Price: $12

MAIDEN LANE
162 Avenue B (at East 10th Street),
East Village
(646) 755-8911
themaidenlane.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2015…
Smoked Trout at NORDIC PRESERVES, FISH & WILDLIFE COMPANY

This little stand in the Essex Street Market gives the nearby Russ & Daughters a run for their money. Instead of focusing on this neighborhood’s Jewish history of preserving fish, Nordic Preserves is catering to the city’s Scandinavian community. You can get all your Nordic supplies here and while you’re at it, you have to try the meaty, salty, and deeply smoky tour that they pull apart for you and sell by the pound.

NORDIC PRESERVES, FISH & WILDLIFE COMPANY
120 Essex Street (at Delancey Street),
Inside the Essex Street Market
Lower East Side
(646) 450-4544
nordicpreserves.com

Smoked Octopus at FISHTAG

Greeks know how to cook octopus and Chef Michael Psilakis at Fishtag is no expception. His tender and richly-flavored smoked octopus dish is a stand-out right alongside fingerling potatoes, heatrs of palm, snow pea leaves, and a bright, sweet date and olive puree. Price: $14

FISHTAG
222 West 79th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue),
Upper West Side
(212) 362-7470
fishtagrestaurant

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