New York City has always been a place for both tradition and innovation. Bagels are local staples, but even they are subject to experimentation. Check out these five bagel joints that defy the limitations of boiled bread, leaving consumers both puzzled and satisfied.
Tompkins Square Bagels
This breakfast joint is most widely known for its French toast bagel, which combines the sweet stickiness of the dish with the doughy texture of a New York bagel. Tompkins Square Bagels also offers a wide variety of unexpected cream cheese flavors, such as chocolate chip cookie dough and wasabi. The birthday cake cream cheese is sure to please, tasting more like frosting than cream cheese when paired with the French toast bagel. 165 Ave. A
Russ & Daughters
While the bagels themselves are as traditional as they come, the exquisite seafood selection at Russ & Daughters makes this place stand out from ordinary bagel shops. While many places include lox on their menus, Russ & Daughters takes it one step further and includes decadent selections of roe and other smoked fish. Be sure to try the caviar cream cheese, which offers an ideal balance of sweet and salty. 179 E. Houston St.
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
Deceivingly named, this innovative bagel shop is not located in Brooklyn, but rather in Chelsea. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company’s claim to fame lies in its creative cream cheese flavors, which change each week. Their latest creations include chipotle diablo and kalamata olive feta cream cheeses. Recently, BB&CC began producing spelt bagels, which are made with alternative grain for those who are intolerant of highly processed wheat. Though spelt bagels contain low levels of gluten, they are not safe for those who are gluten intolerant. 286 Eighth Ave.
Bagels on the Square
Conveniently located five minutes from Washington Square Park, this small bagel bakery is known for its “Black Russian,” a pumpernickel bagel with sesame seeds baked into the crunchy exterior. Bagels on the Square also touts a diverse array of cream cheeses, including bacon cheddar and bacon horseradish. This shop is great if you are feeling adventurous, but not willing to go too far for a bagel excursion. 7 Carmine St.
Black Seed Bagels
Black Seed Bagels already made waves with its dense, Montreal-meets-New-York-style creations. However, they earn their spot on this list with their latest addition — the pizza bagel. Reminiscent of Bagel Bites, the dense and thinly rolled bagels offer a sturdy crust for cheese, pepperoni and shredded basil. However, if you choose to indulge in this salty treat, be aware of the shop’s hours. Black Seed Bagels opens at 7 a.m. every day but only offers pizza bagels Thursday through Saturday during late night hours, 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. 170 Elizabeth St.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 9 print edition. Email Anne Cruz at [email protected]