Bagels as They Used to Be

“As far as bagels go, it’s a sad story in Manhattan,” sighs Wa Shoku. This is a familiar lament among New Yorkers appalled by the sweetish, bulked-up, unaccountably popular bagels that have taken over the city. Two worthy throwbacks are Bagel Bob’s and the seldom-mentioned Tal Bagels minichain, Wa Shoku adds. Both turn out a bagel that is gently crisp outside and chewy inside, and “neither is zeppelin-sized. Monstrous bagels are a sure sign of poor quality.”

Cookiepuss favors Hudson Bagels in the West Village. Murray’s, with shops in Chelsea and the Village, leaves her cold, though many others endorse it. Ess-a-Bagel hits the spot for joelm, who suggests ordering whatever is hot. If you’re lucky, adds fsd1116, it will be sesame.

In Queens, bagel-lovers are bereft over the recent closure of Anna Maria’s in Bayside, victim of the rent squeeze. “The neighborhood mourns the loss,” notes ZenFoodist. But, she adds, there’s good news from Long Island for the Anna Maria’s faithful: Former owner Tommy is taking over the Bagel Boss location in Hicksville. rosie17 always found Anna Maria’s pretty good but says her favorite in Queens is Utopia in Whitestone, especially for its everything bagel and its “flagel” (flat bagel).

The bialy is the baked but unboiled cousin of the bagel, and most agree that New York’s best come from Kossar’s on the Lower East Side. So Father Kitchen was surprised and dismayed after trying his first one: “The crust was OK, but the crumb really disappointed. It was dense (which I expected) but stark white and devoid of any real flavor. … Did I get a bad batch[?]”

The key, bialy buffs explain, is temperature. “[B]ialys are best hot from the oven, useless at room temperature, and ok toasted,” joelm advises. “[W]hen you walk away from Kossar’s with a warm one,” adds addicted to lunch, “it’s wonderfully chewy yet tasty. A cold bialy is worthless—which explains why there is so little demand for a bialy nowadays, where businesses are focused on shelf life to maintain profitability.”

Bagel Bob’s [Greenwich Village]
51 University Place (near E. 10th Street), Manhattan

Bagel Bob’s [Yorkville]
1638 York Avenue (near E. 86th Street), Manhattan

Tal Bagels [Yorkville]
333 E. 86th Street (between First and Second avenues), Manhattan

Tal Bagels [Midtown East]
979 First Avenue (near E. 54th Street), Manhattan

Tal Bagels [Upper West Side]
2446 Broadway (between W. 90th and 91st streets), Manhattan

Hudson Bagels [West Village]
502 Hudson Street (near Christopher), Manhattan

Murray’s Bagels [Chelsea]
242 Eighth Avenue (between W. 22nd and 23rd streets), Manhattan

Murray’s Bagels [Greenwich Village]
500 Sixth Avenue (near W. 13th Street), Manhattan

Ess-a-Bagel [Stuyvesant Town]
359 First Avenue (at E. 21st Street), Manhattan

Ess-a-Bagel [Midtown East]
831 Third Avenue (between E. 51st and 52nd streets), Manhattan

Bagel Boss Hicksville [Nassau County]
432 S. Oyster Bay Road (between Woodbury and Bentley), Hicksville, NY

Utopia Bagels [Whitestone]
19-09 Utopia Parkway (near 19th Avenue), Whitestone, Queens

Kossar’s Bialys [Lower East Side]
367 Grand Street (between Clinton and Suffolk), Manhattan

Board Links: Disappointing Bialy at Kossar’s?
RIP Anna Maria’s Bagels

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