Bagels and New York City are synonymous. It’s the greatest city in the world’s claim to fame, citing the delicious New York City tap water as the reason you really can’t get this kind of crunchy goodness anywhere else. So when a brand new little bagel shop on the Lower East Side grabbed the attention of the entire culinary world, all foodies knew something big was coming.
Black Seed Bagel. If you haven’t seen at least 50 different filtered versions of these delightful Montreal meets New York style bagels, then you clearly don’t follow the right people on Instagram. The bagels are hand rolled, poached, then finished in a wood-fire grill giving an added element of crunch. The hole in the middle is slightly bigger then your average Jewish deli’s version, removing all the of the airy insides (don’t even think to ask for your bagel scooped, it’s a serious crime here.)
I made the extremely early morning trek from my Upper West Side apartment resurfacing to the smell of fish and cigarettes in Chinatown. Off to Black Seed Bagel to see if the hype was real and the now famous beet cured lox would glow as brightly as I imagined.
We entered into the small shop with an open kitchen turning out bagels from the glaring wood fire oven. The counter top is high with the either an extremely tall staff or individuals standing on stools to take your order. It’s a warm vibe, unlike the traditional delis where it seems more then a bagel factory rather then a place you actually want to hang out for more then a few minutes. Exposed brick walls and high tables fill one portion of the narrow room, allowing for many to read the paper while chowing down on their crunchy bagels and sipping Stumptown roast coffee.
When I went to order the #2 sandwich, a spin on the traditional cream cheese & lox bagel, made with their beet cured lox, I was told that they had run out of their staple salmon. I had read the warnings about the fact that this happens often, but figured we could avoid during first service at 8 am.
The modified version used traditional smoked salmon, along with horseradish cream cheese, watermelon radish, parsley and dill. You get to choose what type of bagel, and I went with my all-time favorite: everything.
The bagels live up to the hype, with the insanely crunch exterior housing the overflowing filling. All of the flavors play off each other with the slightly spicy horseradish cream cheese holding all of the other components in place. The salty lox pairs perfectly with dill, and the slightly unusual parsley with the slightly sweet and crunchy watermelon radish rounding out the filling. Unlike the traditional New York Bagel, Black Seed Bagels are slightly smaller, allowing someone like myself who usually eats the sandwich open-faced to opt otherwise. It’s the perfect size; you can finish the bagel without feeling overly full.
Flakes of whitefish play a similar role to that of lox, adding a saltiness to the sandwich. Cream cheese holds the fish and sweet cucumbers in place, with the slightly acidic red onions rounding out the delightful sandwich. It’s one of the more unique sandwiches on the menu at Black Seed, using whitefish in a less conventional way. It’s absolutely awesome, and something everyone who has every enjoyed white fish salad should try.
Black Seed Bagel made a splash on the culinary scene for a serious reason. I’m still extremely anxious to try their Beet Cured Lox, which they seriously need to make more of to keep up with the growing demand. It’s a place every New Yorker needs to try and see for themselves. Because the guys from Black Seed makes all of us New Yorkers believe that Montreal influence could actually be an okay thing in the our great bagel loving city.
Black Seed Bagel – 170 Elizabeth Street – New York, NY
Black Seed Bagel
Location: Lower East Side, NY
Type: Bagels, Sandwiches
Perfect For: Take Out, Quick Bite, Cheap Eats
Favorite Dishes: #2. Salmon and Horseradish; #4 Whitefish Salad