I'm bewildered by the universal praise given to this establishment. I grew up in Queens and ate good bagels throughout my childhood, tough, toasty exterior, pleasant and chewy inside, not too large or soft. I'm not enough of a maven to know whether bagels that good are still around, though a few years ago I was at a Thai-owned bagel shop on Queens Blvd near Union Turnpike which was quite good.
But I have always felt that the bagels at E-a-B (the one on First Avenue) were not only not good, but rather repulsive--mushy and sour. I was first served them about 10 years ago and felt sorry for my host who clearly had no taste. Then I saw the raves in Zagat, etc.
For my money, there are any number of bagel places within walking distance of E-a-B which have better bagels.
Is this an ethnic thing--did I grow up in the wrong Jewish community? Are these bagels typical of a different part of the NY world? Or are the E-a-B fans just the kind of people who think that cinnamon raisin and pumpernickel are appropriate bagel flavors and that Starbucks makes a great cup of coffee--people from a different culinary planet from mine? If so, live and let live...
The place also always looked dirty to me, but it's been refurbished slightly.