At the very end of yesterday’s NYC trip I was in midtown with an hour before I had to leave for the airport, so I did what anyone would do — took the 1 up to 79th street and dashed into Zabar’s to get a half-pound of belly lox in an insulated bag with an ice pack.
Belly lox is not the lox you get on a bagel at the bagel store, no way. It’s not smoked, but salt-cured, from the fattiest part of the salmon. It is salty, very salty. It presents a resistance to the teeth, then snaps, then melts like butter in your mouth. It’s something like a very briny top-quality sushi invented by Jews and sliced very thin. Of all the things people claim they only do right in New York (pastrami, bagels, pizza, etc.) belly lox is the one they actually only do right — hell, as far as I know, only do at all — in New York.
You could have this on a bagel, but should you really dilute the majesty of belly lox with that much bread? On the other hand, it’s too intense to eat more than a few bites of it plain. Here’s the way I’m eating it — on an Ak-Mak cracker with a little cream cheese. Holy hell, this is amazing.