If you want something that is perfectly New York, you absolutely must start your day with a bagel, slathered with cream cheese and topped with the delicate, paper-thin, vibrant slices of lox. Holding its own next to other New York City Classics (pizza, hot dogs, pretzels), lox—a derivative of the Yiddish word for salmon laks—is distinct in its preparation. Most often NYC lox refers to Nova smoked salmon, brined and lightly cold-smoked. While every New Yorker has their own opinion about the classic smoked salmon, I’ve rounded up my absolute favorites. (Btw I also make a dish using Smoked Salmon in my Meals for One: Fish video here!)
*Images from Google
I mentioned Barney Greengrass in my Guide to Passover early this month and I’ll say it again, this Upper West Side joint is temple to the Sturgeon King AND smoked fish, especially the smoked salmon! The brightly orange Nova Scotia slices are exactly what you should look for in good lox, consistently thin and luxuriously yet delicately salty!
Russ and Daughters
This is another Jewish staple in the Lower East Side I had in my Guide to Passover. This fourth-generation family-owned shop is home to a smoked salmon and bagel that has graced many top lists. Clean, fresh, thinly sliced, slightly smoky but not too salty. Definitely worth waiting in line with a bunch of tourists for a bite of their Nova lox on a bagel.
Another classic deli that has ingrained itself into NYC culture dishing “Jewish Soul Food.” The legendary Upper West Side shop, which has been around over 80 years, still serving perfectly thinly sliced smoked salmon over their counter to literally thousands any given week.
Their hand-rolled, freshly made bagels are definitely forces to be reckoned with, but this Greenwich Village shop has made a name for themselves with their beautifully marbled Nova smoked salmon. Perfectly delicate, paired with their cream cheese on a sesame bagel and you’ve taken a bite out of New York for sure!
This Upper East Side shop is often overlooked, but does not disappoint. The Nova lox has a neutral flavor and texture, not too salty or briny, but silky enough to just melt in your mouth.