The one question that I never answer on any of my tours is “Where is the best bagel in New York?” Why, because every New Yorker has his/her own opinion about where you can find the best one. This argument has gone on since the introduction of this piece of doughy delight was introduced to New York in the late 1800’s. Will it end and a final decision will be made? Who knows. In fact, the arguments about this continue. An example is below. BUZZFEED, a on-line internet bloger/magazine, just did its own admittedly unscientific survey and came to its own conclusions. Read it and let me know if you agree with them or not. In fact, let me know where you think where the best bagel is found and I may include that store in new and upcoming special Ben Bagel Tour. If you do, you can come along for free!
Not relying on a reader survey or a Yelp review, Buzzfeed set out recently to determine the best bagel in New York with a 14-way tasting.
And the seven judges included both Jewish food/bagel experts, and those with a less official (though no less passionate) love of bagels. In the end, the top spot went not to one of city’s perennial favorites (Bagel Hole, Ess-a-Bagel), nor one of the fancy newcomers (Black Seed, Baz), but the Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co.
That’s right, Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co, which actually only has locations in Manhattan and Queens. The shop also offers paninis and salads.
To be fair, Ess-a-bagel came in second. Two more relative unknowns, Mill Basin Bagel Cafe (from the far reaches of South Brooklyn) and David’s Bagels (Gramercy/Flatiron) came in third.
Black Seed and Park Slope’s legendary Bagel Hole rounded out the top five.
Surprisingly, some favorites like H&H and Murray’s, ranked near the bottom.
The tasters might have had a preference for the large, doughy rings which New York bagels have become over the last few decades. Some of their positive comments describe bagels as “bulbous,” “zaftig, fluffy,” while another was called out negatively for being “burnt.”
However, bagels have recently experienced a backlash, with New Yorkers discovering smaller, sweeter, crispier (even charred) Montreal-style bagels.
The judges included Ben Smith, editor in chief of BuzzFeed; Adam Sachs, editor of Tasting Table; Liana Finck, author of A Bintel Brief; Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful; Emily Fleischaker, BuzzFeed’s food editor; and Maria Balinska, author of The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread, and former congressman Anthony Weiner (yes, that Anthony Weiner), who reportedly worked in a bagel shop as a young man.
Did the panel miss any great spots? What is your favorite bagel in New York? Let us know in the comments below.