New York has had a number “comfort foods” taken to higher levels over the years, this year it looks likes it the year of the Bagel. The front lines being downtown in Soho and its LES and Little Italy borders. After many years of literally having next to no Bagel joints now this hip and happening group of hoods have a number of serious competitors that vary from the old school to the new.
Baz Bagel –A mix of classic hand rolled bagels, locally sourced lox, old school Jewish cooking and some Diner/Soda Fountain Favorites. All served in what looks like a joint in Miami with Palm Tree wallpaper and painted pink walls. Baz offers a have a number of Bagel and Nova Lox combo sandwiches which I like at the counter with a cup of Joe. My fave of the bunch is the aptly named Pretty In Pink (everything pumpernickel bagel, beet horseradish cream cheese and Nova). I usually can’t leave without some bagels and the aforementioned Beet Horseradish Cream Cheese to go.
181 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
Russ and Daughters -The Grande Dame of Jewish Appetizer joints started as a Push-Cart in the late 1800’s and going strong ever since. This is my “go-to’ Lox spot primarily for their first rate old school salty Belly lox, but I also love their variety from New Zealand which is closer to sashimi. Their Horseradish cream cheese is one of my favorite cream cheeses. They have one of the largest and best Bagel sandwich selections with the Super Heebster (combo of Whitefish and Salmon Salad with Horseradish Dill Cream Cheese and Wasabi Flying Fish Roe) and the Fancy Delancy (Smoked Tuna w/Horseradish Cream Cheese and Wasabi Flying Fish Roe) my favorites. Now, while I’m a huge fan of the take out deli location, the new upscale Restaurant didn’t do it for me. Quite simply you can’t just get a bagel sandwich and coffee here, you need to go with full platters and entrees. They have a new location opening up by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
Black Seed -I happen to be a reluctant big fan of the smallish Montreal/NY hybrid (hand rolled, boiled in honey water, then.baked in a wood fired oven) bagel, but they are very, very good. Their Tobiko cream cheese is crack and their Bluefish salad is a nice twist on Whitefish salad. This is also the place that introduced me to the Watermelon Radish that I’ve been substituting for tomato as my veggie topping bagel…when I can find them of course. They get big points for serving Stumptown coffee and it’s a great spot for people watching. Of note, they have a second location opening up in the East Village Sept/Oct 2015.
170 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012
Sadell’s – A recent newcomer from the Torrisi Team, a ginormous Jewish Brasserie with Bakery featuring a full menu that includes Bagel and Lox towers, fancy salads, triple decker smoked meat sandwiches and entrees. The in shop Bakery has bagels to go in a dozen varieties , lox, fish salads, and baked goods like chocolate chip loaf and black and white cookies.
463 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012
In my humble opinion my takeaway is this…Russ and Daughters is more than worth the journey for the best lox and appetizing in the city. As is Black Seed for their Bagels and Tobiko the crack of cream cheese cream cheeses. I like Baz if I’m going to sit down. For me, Sadelle’s is great for those in the neighborhood but I’ve yet to have something worth traveling there for.