It’s pretty widely accepted that New York City water is the not-so-secret ingredient that makes New York City bagels better than bagels from anywhere else. However, at Black Seed Bagels, what differentiates these New York City bagels from all other New York City bagels is not the water, but the fire.
Black Seed Bagels makes a combination of a New York and a Montreal style bagel. In fact, the name Black Seed Bagels is a reference to one of the two prominent types of Montreal style bagels (the other is white seed bagels). The similarities don’t stop there either; the bagels are hand rolled, boiled in honey-water, and baked in a wood fired oven, all of which are characteristics of a Montreal style bagel. Actually, other than probably using the revered New York City water, using traditional New York City bagel toppings and ingredients, and being located in New York City, there’s not much that’s New York about these bagels. That’s not to say that these are not great bagels though, because they are decidedly great bagels.
The place is small (like most New York eating establishments), but it’s warm and inviting with tile mosaics on the floor and walls and a decent amount of seating in the back. It’s a great place to spend a morning. Right when you walk in, you are greeted with the view (and smell) of bagels fresh from the oven cooling on marble slabs. It is truly a sight to behold.
I ordered an Everything Bagel (because New York, duh) with Plain Cream Cheese (I should have gone with scallion cream cheese, duh) and this is where I noticed another New York aspect of these bagels – they do NOT skimp on the cream cheese. A true SCHMEAR.
However, as you can probably see, they do skimp a bit on the bagel toppings/seasonings. I just wanted more of that everything bagel blend on my everything bagel is all. But that’s the only thing that I’d change about this bagel. The bagel had an excellent, slightly sweet (from the honey-water) and chewy crust that is unique to the wood fired oven. The interior was soft and dense and held up well to the cream cheese and other toppings (they also offer sandwiches and such).
If you want the ideal New York bagel, Black Seed Bagels is not that. But, if you want a great bagel that’s different, but similar and will open your eyes to how awesome other styles of bagels can be, then Black Seed Bagels is exactly the place you’re looking for. In a city as big and diverse as New York City, sometimes being different is a good thing.
Black Seed Bagels is definitely a good thing.