Being big fans of bagels and lox, Russ & Daughters is one of our favourite breakfast joints in NYC. It’s always been a staple on our itinerary but after reading about Sadelle’s which opened up last fall to much fanfare, we decided to branch out and try something different this time around.
As you enter Sadelle’s, you quickly realize that a breakfast here is going to cost you a pretty penny. Located in Soho, the restaurant is beautifully decorated with exposed brick walls, brass mid-century light fixtures and marble tables. The space features one long communal table down the middle of the restaurant with smaller two-tops down the sides.
There’s an appetizing deli by the entrance where they slice the cured fish to order and a bagel-making station situated near the back of the restaurant. The bagel-making station is enclosed with glass so customers can watch as the fresh bagels are being made.
It can get crazy busy on the weekends, so I highly recommend taking advantage of the fact that they take reservations for brunch. But be warned, they take your credit card information in case you cancel at the last minute. If you’re faced with a long wait, you can always opt for take-out.
Sadelle’s is the brainchild of Major Food Group, a New York based company owned by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalanick. They are the same folks behind the popular Italian-American restaurant Carbone, the Parm chain of restaurants and Dirty French. For Sadelle’s they’ve partnered with Melissa Weller (co-owner and Master Baker) who began her journey selling bagels at a stall in Smorgasburg.
For breakfast and lunch, they offer a selection of fish – house salmon, smoked Scottish, sturgeon, whitefish salad and salmon salad which are all served with a bagel, tomato, cucumber, onions and capers. They range in price from $14 for the salmon salad up to $24 for sable or sturgeon. It might seem pricey but you do get a fair amount of fish per order.
They also offer a selection of egg dishes, caviar and other specialties like French toast and blintzes. In addition to breakfast items, they also have standard lunch fare like salads and sandwiches. You can also drop by for dinner which is offered Tuesday to Saturday and features a completely different menu. But let’s be honest, most people come here for the bagels and lox.
Between the two of us, we ordered the House Salmon ($19) and Whitefish Salad ($17). The prices are definitely on the high side but the portions are pretty reasonable. The thin slices of house salmon sat glistening on the top plate of our three-tier tower and the portion given was enough for two people to share. The salmon was delicate and not too salty. Personally, I think the cured salmon at Russ & Daughters is better but this was also quite enjoyable.
The whitefish salad sat on the second tier of the tower. The chunky and creamy salad was a touch too salty for my liking. Mike, on the other hand, loved it. He grew up eating this and thought this was definitely one of the better ones he’s had.
The bottom tier of our tower consisted of a great spread of fresh sliced vegetables (tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers and capers) for you to build your own bagel and lox sandwich.
We opted for an everything bagel and an ‘everything 2.0’ bagel which has the usual ‘everything’ bagel toppings plus caraway and fennel seeds. The bagels are a little smaller than what I’m used to but big on flavour. These were some of the best bagels I’ve ever had – crispy on the outside with a soft and chewy interior. They were so flavourful even without any cream cheese! I could’ve just eaten these on their own and be satisfied.
The last thing we shared was Melissa’s Sticky Buns ($17). Talk about major sticker shock. I asked our server about them and he informed us that an order comes with three buns. Fine, when you break it down to a price per bun, it’s not as outrageous but why can’t I just buy one? We ended up sharing one of them and taking the rest to go.
These sticky buns have been getting rave reviews so we didn’t want to miss out. But they just weren’t what I expected. I expected more of a soft, doughy bun, similar to a cinnamon bun. These ones were made with brioche dough which had a flakier texture and was actually kind of dry. The buns were topped with a very sweet and sticky brown sugar glaze – like it was coated in a thin veil of caramel. It just wasn’t really my cup of tea. I also wished they had warmed them up before serving them to us. That probably would’ve helped.
At the end of the day, I still prefer Russ & Daughters. While the bagels at Sadelle’s knocked it out of the park, Russ & Daughters is still the king of smoked and cured fish!
At a glance:
- Brought to us by Major Food Group (who also owns Carbone and Parm, to name a few) and Melissa Weller (Master Baker)
- Located in Soho
- Open Tuesday to Sunday; closed on Mondays
- Reservations accepted (even for breakfast/brunch) but requires a credit card when booking
- Gets very busy on weekends; take-out is an option
- Known for their bagel and lox
- Amazing bagels; lox is good but I prefer Russ & Daughters
Ratings (out of 5):
- Food: 3 stars
- Service: 2 stars
- Atmosphere: 3 stars