To be honest, every time when I come to NY, I meant to go to Zabar or Katz's, but never ended up there.
This time where we stayed, in LES, there's a nice Jewish Deli, you want to go in and get some lox. We sat at the bar, and it has a full bar in case you need it in the morning. And the bar tender has a full jacket, as do all of their servers. Those touches you don't see anymore. The place looks new but kept a lot of the old, like the shelves for the glasses, they use an old fashion handle to make Italian Soda. It was just neat to watch.
I got the Lower Sunny Side, it's sunny side up eggs, with lox and potato latkes. It's really like a thicker hash brown in a cake form. I would eat those by it self, or mix with other dishes. To me, the latkes are like a less greasy potato galette but thicker and 'meatier'. Lox is fresh, which I can always appreciate. Been a fan of lox since I was a kid, so having it so easily assessable made it all the more appealing.
Of course, the atmosphere of this place is really the charm of it. The food is great helps tremendously, but it's quaint that they kept the old soda glasses. The counter is very soda shoppe styled, and their storage (while neat) has kept using brand that's been around for a long time. It does give you the haimish (yiddish: homey, warmth) feeling. The cafe is not far from the original shop. There you really get that they kept the tradition in decor and food, when you see the store front. Definitely charmed.
Russ & Daughters Cafe
125 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002