Saturday, June 10, 2017

Barney Greengrass: The Sturgeon King - New York City

We'd just eaten breakfast on Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We were walking to our car when we walked past "Barney Greengrass: The Sturgeon King." Of course, I had to go in. It was part deli, with tables, and part take-out, with glass covered display cases featuring beautiful, expensive, fish. 

One I'd not heard of was schmaltz. Schmaltz (Yiddish) herring is caught just before spawning when the fat (schmaltz) content of the fish is at its height. It is usually pickled in brine. I bought two small strips and a while later pulled over on the sidewalk and pulled it out for a taste. It was powerful. It was very, very soft, almost like moldy on the outside (although it wasn't), with a taste like anchovies. Judy took one bite and it was enough for her. I probably had three or four bites and had enough. The combination of texture and taste made this really tough stuff to eat plain. 
Schmaltz herring.
The other delicacy we purchased was lox salad: lox mixed with mayo and onion. Unlike the schmaltz, this was mild, smokey and delicious. 
Lox salad.
The history section of the Barney Greengrass website is fun. In 2009, it was Zagat rated and New York's no. 1 deli for 12 straight years. The London Times, in 2003, noted that Anthony Bourdain recommended it as the best breakfast in New York and the best chopped liver in the universe. It was a 2006 James Beard Award winner for excellence as an "American Classic." It has been in five television shows,  including Seinfeld, Sex in the City and 30 Rock, and a number of movies, including You've Got Mail in 1998. 

1 comment:

  1. I never need to taste schmaltz again, but give me that lox salad anyday. YUM. As usual, I'm amazed at how you just wander in to these famous food places. You have an amazing homing device.