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 will be air-expressed to New York City, where it will be 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 will serve the Silver of the Sea from its special cart (marked De Haringkoning — the Herring King) in a cozy nook by the bar for at least two weeks beginning June 12, 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 now have another 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 most recent 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, and the annual Herring Pairing Party takes place June 25 ($79, 6:30) at the new Russ & Daughters location at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, with live music and pairings with spirits, cocktails, and beer. 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.