Despite my love of food in this city, there is one thing I typically never do: wait in line. In heels. I haven’t even had a Cronut from Dominique Ansel due to this fact. Yet, bagels hold a special place in my heart, so in honor of Black Seed Bagel’s opening weekend, I made the decision that I was going to tough it out. The weather is no longer miserable, and I was also pretty hungover, so there was never a more perfect time for me to keep my eyes on the prize (aka mass quantities of food). I become something of a human garbage disposal in that state. But I digress.
Upon my arrival, I saw a fairly long line down Elizabeth Street. It was 11 am. I thought most New Yorkers don’t get up on Sundays before noon..? I guess for these bagels they do. A staff member was passing out small cups of Stumptown black coffee (score!) and told us it would be about a 45 min wait. My brain popped at that point…but I made the commitment. I was doing this. Oh and also, 3 bagel per person max. So naturally I got 3 bagels:
Everything bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese (my go to), $4.75
Poppyseed with salmon (they were out of the beet-cured salmon already), horseradish cream cheese, tomato, red onion, capers, $11.00
Poppyseed with Tobiko cream cheese, smoked salmon, and butter lettuce. $13.00
Oh yea and of course, potato salad with bacon, $5.00
That last bagel was Joel Tietolman’s recommendation and he is one of the bagel masters behind this Montreal-based operation. For those of you who don’t know – quick fact – Black Seed Bagels stems from Mile End Deli, the Canadian-based deli with some of the most amazing smoked meat sandwiches EVER. Again…I digress.
So. Here’s my rundown of these bagels…
Taste: Just straight up – these bagels would taste good with nothing on them. Boiled in water that has a splash of honey in it, then hand rolled and wood-fired, they are slightly sweet, perfectly chewy, not too dense, and wonderfully crispy on the outside.
Size: Kind of small, in my honest opinion. Smaller than my hand (and I have small hands) and thinner. I actually enjoy the thinner aspect, because some of the NYC bagels here look like they have been pumped full of HGH and it scares me a little. I’d say if you’re a big eater, get two. Or in my case…three….
Favorite: Toss up but I honestly might go with the one Joel suggested – the Tobiko cream cheese was AWESOME and I was not expecting that. It was a perfect combination with the salmon. That said, the salmon, tomato, horseradish cream cheese concoction was no slouch either. It bulked up the bagel a bit and was so salty, briny, and delicious. I’m normally not a big fan of this sandwich, but I might be converting.
Least Favorite: Obviously by process of elimination, the Everything bagel with scallion CC. I know most places put WAY too much cream cheese on their bagels, but this was not enough. Sorry. I need a nice, sizable SHMEAR and this was way too little for me; even for a relatively small bagel, it could have used another swipe of the stuff.
Price: I think this place is slightly more expensive than your standard NYC bagel shop. For example, my place does the Lox/cream cheese bagel thing for roughly $9.20. Black Seed does it for $11. Not a HUGE discrepancy, but when you combine that with the long wait, it wouldn’t be my go-to bagel shop. But for a splurge on a day when I have nothing to do, I’d be all about this place. I’m already kind of thinking about that Tobiko cream cheese…
Black Seed Bagels
170 Elizabeth Street
Hours: 7 am – 4 pm