- scene: Pretty small; light wood seating area leads to a small counter and a major bagel -making open kitchen
- sip: Whateva
- savor: Bagels and shmears! Inventive sandwich combos and classic fish offerings...
- sit: With friends that like carbs...
- spend: $
- address: 170 Elizabeth Street (Prince and Spring)
- phone number: (212) 730-1950
- website: www.blackseedbagels.com
Growing up, breakfast in our house usually consisted of healthy cereal or some sort of bagel/bialy situation; most likely half a bagel, always toasted, always with cream cheese, some times with smoked salmon or tomato. Our mother has never eaten an egg in her life (she picks them out of fried rice) , so breakfast was predominantly a Dad-driven affair, meaning that except for the a random omelet or matzo brie, bagels and shmears it was. We grew up thin and happy and it wasn’t until many years later that the Carbpocolypse made us question bagels’ place in our lives, relegating them to treat status rather than an every day occurrence. In NYC, we love Murray’s for their firm outside and soft centers, although their refusal to toast bagels is quite irritating; we crave the spreads and combinations available at Russ & Daughters (The Super Heeb, OMFG) and always consider New York the bagel -center (ha ha, they have no center) of the universe. Apparently, our neighbors to the north in Montreal have their own ideas about where the bagel-center of the universe, which at first just seemed like typical Canadian arrogance, until Blackseed Bagels opened in NYC and the press made everyone start to doubt their bagel I.Q.
Apparently Montreal bagels are smaller, sweeter and denser than NYC bagels, with bigger holes and are always finished in a wood-fired oven. Black Seed Bagels is lauded as the first place in the city to offer a truly authentic Montreal-style bite, and with their arrival came tons of press and almost Cronut-level hysteria. On my way to Black Seed, I was very intimidated by talk of long lines, and geared myself up for a bagel shit -show, but I was pleasantly surprised when I cruised right in around 11 am on Monday. I selected a sampling of offerings for sister and I to get an overall feel for what this joint was all about. We tried the standard cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, onion and caper on everything; tobiko cream cheese, smoked salmon and butter lettuce on a plain bagel; and a dry sesame bagel with a side of tuna, just for good measure. I originally wanted the whitefish and cucumber number, but they were out of whitefish.
Bottom line, we both enjoyed the dry sesame bagel the best. The texture is really something of a wonder, and it almost reminded me of the chewy, pulley amazingness of a Motorino crust (I guess it is that wood fire). The fixings were fresh and tasty, and this might be gauche of me to say, but I could have used a little bit cream cheese, especially the tobiko number. It got a little lost in the shuffle, but there was no bite left untouched. Black Seed Bagels is worth all of the hype, but it is definitely more of a destination than just your neighborhood bagel shop. Black Seed bagels are totally crave- worthy and worth the carbs (carbs make life worth living, ladies), but our Yom Kippur Break-fast order will still be coming from Russ and Daughters…but then again, we are from NJ, what do we know? #BlameCanada