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On 1/21/2013 at 9:45 PM, weinoo said:

This topic forced me to go to Russ & Daughters this past weekend.

Their bagels (I don't really know the source) come in two sizes - mini and regular. The minis are just over 2 ounces, the regulars just over 3 oz. - so they're like the bagels I remember from when I was a kid.  Eminently edible untoasted.

But of course, at R & D, there is so much more to choose from other than bagels...

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Starting a bagels thread for NY--

Where should I go for bagels when I visit NY? I used to go to the H&H near Zabars for bagels. I also liked Columbia Bagels. Both now gone. Where is the go-to place for bagels in NY?

Russ and Daughters? I went there for bagels last year and liked the bagels.

I've also tried a place near Times Square which the internet said has some involvement by people who were with Columbia Bagels. Got the bagels to go. I had them on the train, and the bagels were on the harder side.

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[The following posts have been split into separate threads:

Black Seed Bagels (goodeats)]

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As you quoted above, I find the bagels at Russ & Daughters to be, to my taste, the most authentic.

Ess-A-Bagel and Murray's Bagels are also good.

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In my searches in New York, Ess-A-Bagel has consistently been the winner. I love Russ & Daughters, but not so much for the bagels, which we like but don't love. Murray's is quite good.

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It's a hole in the wall carryout with long lines on the weekends, but Bagelworks on the UES (66th & 1st) is my current go-to. Ess-A-Bagel is good too, but can also be a zoo.

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Ess-A-Bagel definitely can be a zoo, although the line typically moves quite fast. I have dreams about the salt bagel, however, so I'll brave the lines if I have to.

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Thanks for the bagel suggestions! I was in NY this weekend. I went to Murray's in Chelsea this morning (on 8th Ave between 22nd and 23rd) because it was the most convenient for me. I got an everything bagel with sundried tomato roasted garlic cream cheese and a plain bagel with kalamata olive cream cheese. Plus a pumpernickel bagel without cream cheese to toast tomorrow (I saw their website says they don't toast bagels.)

Good bagels. Chewy, soft. I like getting a thick layer of cream cheese when I order a bagel with cream cheese, and that's what I got. It's a good thing I'd researched the menu ahead of time to decide which cream cheeses to order because I couldn't see the cream cheese menu on the wall from the point where I had to order. The sundried tomato roasted garlic cream cheese didn't have much garlic flavor, but I liked both cream cheeses overall.

I'll be in NY again in the near future and will try to get to Ess-a-Bagel.

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I can't speak to authenticity but if you've been out too late at the Boat Bar the night before, Mocha Bagels in Cobble Hill is a lifesaver. Tasty bagels and to my Californian delight, no snobbery about cream cheese- they've got all types and flavors.

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I can't speak to authenticity but if you've been out too late at the Boat Bar the night before, Mocha Bagels in Cobble Hill is a lifesaver. Tasty bagels and to my Californian delight, no snobbery about cream cheese- they've got all types and flavors.

Yeah, that's pretty much my neighborhood. That place is joined by a slew of others, mere blocks apart (like Starbucks, only independent of one another). All nice, fresh bagels with lots of cream cheese choices.

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On 12/27/2017 at 1:45 PM, Steve R. said:

The texture of their bagels was better than any other place we’ve used in NY (& we’ve had a lot of bagels!)

It's interesting you qualify this with "in NY" - have you tried bagels in Montreal? For my palate, I think Montreal's close-grained, textural tori of happiness have a better overall chew (dare I say they're more toothsome?) than NYC's.

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13 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

It's interesting you qualify this with "in NY" - have you tried bagels in Montreal? For my palate, I think Montreal's close-grained, textural tori of happiness have a better overall chew (dare I say they're more toothsome?) than NYC's.

I may be pelted with toasted bagels for suggesting this,  but how does the hive feel about Jersey bagels?

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17 minutes ago, curiouskitkatt said:

I may be pelted with toasted bagels for suggesting this,  but how does the hive feel about Jersey bagels?

Watson Bagels from Newark were legendary back in the day.  My father says he used to give these to us while we were teething.  Growing up I do not recall a weekend when there were not a bag of these bagels sitting on the kitchen table.

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21 minutes ago, curiouskitkatt said:

I may be pelted with toasted bagels for suggesting this,  but how does the hive feel about Jersey bagels?

I can't speak for the hive.   I grew up in Jersey and visit sporadically also meaning I eat bagels less often now than when I literally grew up on them.  There were and continue to be good bagel bakeries in Northern Jersey.  While growing up I thought the best in Jersey were comparable to the best I had in NYC.  I know I've gotten good bagels more recently in Bergen County though I'm not the orderer so I can't reference the bakery. 

If the overall status has changed I'd be interested to learn about it.

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15 minutes ago, DaveO said:

I can't speak for the hive.   I grew up in Jersey and visit sporadically also meaning I eat bagels less often now than when I literally grew up on them.  There were and continue to be good bagel bakeries in Northern Jersey.  While growing up I thought the best in Jersey were comparable to the best I had in NYC.  I know I've gotten good bagels more recently in Bergen County though I'm not the orderer so I can't reference the bakery. 

If the overall status has changed I'd be interested to learn about it.

In my travels, I have ventured into Jerz for pizza, and baked goods. Upon a friends recommendation, I made the 3 hr trek to Sorrento's in East Hanover. Oh Mamma Mia it was worth every mile. I am on a quest to find whether or not a good bagel can be found here, and by the last two responses, I am confident I will. 

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14 minutes ago, dcs said:

Watson Bagels from Newark were legendary back in the day.  My father says he used to give these to us while we were teething.  Growing up I do not recall a weekend when there were not a bag of these bagels sitting on the kitchen table.

That is great history (for someone who was relatively local). I knew nothing of Watson Bagels.  But damn...the "localness" is definitely relative.  While my mom grew up and lived in Newark I knew relatively little about those days, stretching from the earlier 1900's to the earlier 60's.  Before I was born my parents lived there and in Irvington, but by the time I was born they had moved to Verona, which is at the "other end of Essex".  Our best bagel haunts were in West Orange and Passaic.  The drive to Irvington, places like Elizabeth was further than West Orange or Passaic.

It would be like living and shopping on Capital HIll vs Upper Connecticut Ave, or Gaithersburg vs Silver Spring or Vienna vs Alexandria.  One develops closer shopping habits far more local.

On the other hand from the "legendary back in the day" link there is a reference to Leo Bauman

Quote

As Leo Bauman was identified with the Weequahic Diner

His brother/partner Morris Bauman opened the Claremont Diner in Verona close to Montclair.  It was among the best known diners in Jersey for a long time.  Behind the typical diner facade and front section was an enormous higher quality restaurant that was extremely busy and popular. 

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28 minutes ago, DaveO said:

I can't speak for the hive.   I grew up in Jersey and visit sporadically also meaning I eat bagels less often now than when I literally grew up on them.  There were and continue to be good bagel bakeries in Northern Jersey.  While growing up I thought the best in Jersey were comparable to the best I had in NYC.  I know I've gotten good bagels more recently in Bergen County though I'm not the orderer so I can't reference the bakery. 

If the overall status has changed I'd be interested to learn about it.

I have a vague recollection of Mark Kuller posting something here about the quality of Jersey roadside ... pizza? bakeries? chicken parms? ... saying that they were fantastic. My guess - and it's only a guess - is that the best bagels of Jersey are on a par with the best of NYC, but the Jersey average is lesser than the NYC average - reasonable guess?

(Then again, the NYC "average" must take into account all the really bad places, of which there are many.)

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6 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

My guess - and it's only a guess - is that the best bagels of Jersey are on a par with the best of NYC, but the Jersey average is lesser than the NYC average - reasonable guess?

(Then again, the NYC "average" must take into account all the really bad places, of which there are many.)

Not a reasonable guess as your second sentence evidences.  :D  I may concede that bagels are getting worse all over, on average.

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

I have a vague recollection of Mark Kuller posting something here about the quality of Jersey ... pizza? bakeries? grinders? ... saying that they were fantastic. My guess (and it's only a guess) is that the best bagels of Jersey are on a part with the best of NYC, but the Jersey average is lesser than the NYC average - reasonable guess?

1 hour ago, dcs said:

Not a reasonable guess as your second sentence evidences.  :D  I may concede that bagels are getting worse all over, on average.

Alternatively I would concur with Don's guess.  Although who could possibly make such an authoritative claim except for some "bagel nut" who made it his or her business to sample bagels on both sides of the Hudson.

Oi Oi.  What a job.  One would grow unreasonably heavy in the endeavor, on top of which driving across all those bridges and tunnels would be an horrific PITA let alone finding parking in NYC.  The very idea strikes me with terror!!! :wacko:

When I lived in NY the very idea of driving to dine in Jersey was horrifically repugnant. :D

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48 minutes ago, DaveO said:

When I lived in NY the very idea of driving to dine in Jersey was horrifically repugnant. :D

BTW:  When recently discussing local bagel quality one of the participants, a Northern Virginia resident, who lives very close to Chain Bridge Road and has great access to Upper Northwest DC and Montgomery County was simply horrified by the idea of accessing Bethesda Bagels vs Northern Va alternatives.   Such are the weights applied to making "bagel trips".   I generally concur.

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Georgetown Bagelry (dcs)

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Truly agree  I have relatives who live in Spring Lake NJ and think everything in their town is better.  From the best seafood to the bagels.  My SIL was not amused when I asked their fish monger where the swordfish was from.  Advertised as local, that is North Carolina local.

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7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

It's interesting you qualify this with "in NY" - have you tried bagels in Montreal? For my palate, I think Montreal's close-grained, textural tori of happiness have a better overall chew (dare I say they're more toothsome?) than NYC's.

I have not been to Montreal (on our short list for the (hopefully) near future) but a couple of Montreal places opened in NYC during the past several years & I tried their bagels.  I liked them well enough but they were denser and, as you say, had more of a chew.  One of them imported the bagels so they were more authentic, although not straight out of the oven.  The other place I tried made them locally but they (obviously) would then be using NYC water & that would make a difference.

Bagels in NYC (like pizza) ain’t what they used to be & the average place isn’t as good, in my opinion, as the average place from years ago.  One of the larger iconic NYC places, H&H, closed several years ago, but I didn’t like their product: way too sweet for me.  So many places dont have as good a chew as a NYC bagel should & I attribute that to not really being skilled at the “boil, then bake” process needed.  That’s why I was annoyed at Utopia the 1 time we went, since their chew was very good but the flavor wasn’t.  Hoping it was a one off and that weinoo is actually correct about this one thing.

As for Joisey — what right minded Brooklynite would go there to find out?!  They may well be as good but, like Connecticut pizza, I’m just not that desperate to find out.

Here in Florida, I have found a bagel place worth going to.  “Stew’s”, just outside of Clearwater is very good.  He’s from Queens/L.I. & has the process down perfectly.  But he has Florida water to work with and that takes a toll on the overall flavor (& probably texture).  Good enough though.

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6 hours ago, Steve R. said:

As for Joisey — what right minded Brooklynite would go there to find out?!  

Can’t say that I blame you.  Those bridges and tunnels and traffic.  Ugh.

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IMHO... The best bagels in NYC right now are a cross between Montreal and classic New York. Like Montreal they're smaller with a bigger, defined hole. But like New York they're boiled and a bit bready. The best of this style are found at Sadelle's and Blackseed. For a more traditional New York bagel, I like Russ and Daughters or the mini (only the minis) at Ess-a-Bagel. Eater posted a map of their top bagels a couple weeks ago: https://ny.eater.com/maps/best-bagels-nyc

However, I fear this line of questioning fails to also consider that the quality of the bagel one must be complemented by the appetizing offer - smoked fish, cream cheese and other delicacies. Bagels do not exist in a vacuum.  In this case Sadelle's continues to remain a top choice as does Russ and Daughters. Zucker's similarly does appetizing very well.

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On 3/7/2018 at 4:31 PM, lekkerwijn said:

IMHO... The best bagels in NYC right now are a cross between Montreal and classic New York. Like Montreal they're smaller with a bigger, defined hole. But like New York they're boiled and a bit bready.

I agree that in finding a good bagel to one's taste you need to consider the size and hole/bread ratio. However, I've found all types of NY style bagels that vary on these parameters. The key difference IMHO is that a real Montreal bagel from Montreal is sweeter - it has honey water as part of its baking process vs. NY bagels do not. The few times I had bagels from the classic Montreal bagel shops, I thought eww that is so sweet. Whereas I know others love that style. It is a matter of personal taste.  I will say though that many Montreal-style bagels in the US don't seem as sweet but without that sweetness, there isn't much difference in general regional style. The differences then fall to the particular bagel shop. In DC, you can get smaller, bigger hole bagels at Baked by Yael or Breadfurst or you can get good big chewy on the outside, but fluffier/thicker bagels at Bethesda Bagel in Dupont. For medium sized but really nice chew, Timber Pizza is a good option (not sure when the bagels are available, maybe not be all the time). Oh and the NY water thing is BS! I lived in NY and DC and it is such a blown out of proportion myth.  

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