Grand Central Oyster Bar, Grand Central Terminal, lower level, 212-490-6650
Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St., 127 Orchard St., Jewish Museum, 212-475-4880
Restaurant Aquavit, 65 East 55th St., 212-307-7311
The new herring is here! The new herring is here! After being sampled by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the Hollandse Nieuwe Haring from Scheveningen has been air-expressed to New York City, where it is available at several prime locations through around the middle of July. For years we’ve been singing the praises of the new herring at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, which serves the Silver of the Sea from its special cart (marked De Haringkoning — the Herring King) in a cozy nook by the bar, accompanied by chopped egg, diced raw onion, and seeded flatbread, along with genever (Dutch gin) as desired. Each bite is a delectable taste sensation that should be slowly savored, never rushed. But we very well might now have a new favorite, the special herring menu at Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard St. We adore the herring board, which comes with four luscious tail-on herrings, four hot-dog-shaped challah rolls, and chopped onions and capers. You can also delight in the new catch at the Russ & Daughters shop on East Houston, where the marvelous matjes herring, two fillets attached at the tail, is available for takeout at the counter, although you should strongly consider ordering in advance; there’s a reason why their latest book is called Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built. There will also be kosher herring at the Russ & Daughters restaurant downstairs at the Jewish Museum. In addition, tickets are still available for the annual Russ & Daughters Herring Pairing at Astor Center on July 11 ($79), with chef Gerardo Gonzalez and guests preparing special herring dishes accompanied by sparkling wines, spirits, and other cocktails, along with live music by bandleader and saxophonist Paul Shapiro. And Aquavit’s annual Herring Festival runs June 19 through July 14, with a three-course $58 prix-fixe herring menu for lunch, consisting of the new catch with chives, red onion, cheese, and löjrom, seared salted herring with potatoes, peas, and horseradish, and strawberry and rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream. As Sholom Aleichem once said, “A kind word is no substitute for a piece of herring or a bag of oats.” We’re not sure about the bag of oats, but we have no problem choosing herring over a kind word every year at this time.