Tilt your head back and open wide because herring season has returned to our shores. Each summer the new catch Holland herring swim in for a month of whole fish feasting, and starting June 5th there are a few places you can get in on the slurping action.
Iconic Lower East Side institution Russ & Daughters kicks off Hollandse Nieuwe season at their counter, selling the buttery fishies for $4.49 each or a tray of 10 for $39.95. Then on June 18th the shop throws its annual Russ & Daughters Herring Celebration, where the delicious delicacies are paired with wine and cocktails by the folks at Astor Center. Mark Russ Federman will read from his book, TFF selection Raw Herring will be screened, and you can get your herring moneyshot saved for posterity in the Shootboth.
Over at Grand Central Oyster Bar, they'll be doing a pared down version of their annual Herring Festival, as their main dining room is under construction until mid-July. Still, starting on June 19th starting at noon you'll be able to eat herring flown to the restaurant daily from Scheveningen in The Netherlands, where the herring fleet makes its home in the North Sea. The Oyster Bar is offering two presentations, including the traditional fresh herring ($7) with chopped onions, chopped hard-boiled egg and chopped scallions and a fresh herring salad ($7.95) with beets, apples, potatoes and a yogurt-based dressing.
Later on in the month, Marcus Jernmark's Nordic restaurant Aquavit offers two Saturdays of herring brunching at their annual Herring Festival. From 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on June 15th and June 22nd, the chef serves 15 different types of herring buffet style with your choice of entree (Swedish Meatballs, Arctic Char) plus a dessert (Strawberry Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Mousse). The meal runs $42 per person and reservations are recommended.