When I would come to the city as a kid, getting “New York bagels” was a huge deal. We’d buy them fresh at H&H* and eat them with Zabar’s cream cheese and lox every morning of the trip. Like dollar pizza, bagels here are part of the city’s history, and there are more shops than you can shake a stick at. But which shop is serving up the best?!
Food tours are something I’ve done for a long time. When I was on the road, it was a perfect day-time adventure in cities where there were competing favorites. Plus, who isn’t looking for an excuse to eat five cannolis in one day?! (Yes I did that, and YES it was glorious).
In this food tour – NYC edition – I took it upon myself to try every major bagel shop in this city and review them all. First stop? Black Seed Bagels.
Black Seed is a relative newcomer on the bagel scene. It’s the brain child of Noah Bernamoff (of Mile End) and Matt Kliegman (of The Smile), who came together with the dream of collaborating on a shop that melded their Canadian and American backgrounds. The result? Black Seed touts Montreal-style bagels, which are known for being thinner and chewier than their American counterparts. The shop’s staff rolls each bagel by hand, boils them in honey water for sweetness and bakes them in a wood-fired oven. While Black Seed offers all the NYC-familiar toppings and spreads, it’s elevating the game with beet-cured lox, gourmet egg sandwiches and ingredients like tobiko and horseradish.
I went to their new location on 1st Avenue and ordered the #2 signature sandwich: beet-cured lox, horseradish cream cheese, watermelon radish and herbs. My first thought was, “It’s so small!” quickly followed by my second thought, which looked a little something like: A*!%$&#!@!!!!
That is to say, it’s amazing. The ingredients are the star, and more than make up for the size. The horseradish gives the perfect amount of heat and umami, and the salmon is silky and flavorful without being overly fishy. Yum!
Stay tuned for PART TWO! Where shop should I hit next???
*H&H, a NYC staple, went under a couple of years ago. My dad, who lived on the Upper West Side for 12 years, literally cried when I told him. It’s now a Verizon store. Siiigh.