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Searching for Brooklyn’s Most Bodacious Bagel: Part 2

The bagel search continues….

After kicking off the search for the best bagel in Brooklyn last week, I continued my search this week. Branching out from last week’s Fort Greene/Bed-Stuy/Bushwick-based locations, this week turned to Williamsburg. Has gentrification ruined Williamsburg’s bagels? Contrary to Time Out‘s bold statement this week, Williamsburg’s bagels do anything but suck.

This Week’s Candidates

Bagelsmith

Searching for Brooklyns Most Bodacious Bagel: Part 2

Bagelsmith’s plain bagel with lox and the works | Photo by Austin Ruby/OurBKSocial

This hybrid bodega/bagel shop has two locations, both in Williamsburg. The Lorimer location has exclusively standup counter table space, while the Bedford location has mixed seating. Otherwise, the locations are very similar. Bagelsmith offers unmatched bagel convenience, serving up bagels, cases of beer, chips, and other typical bodega items 24/7.

A plain bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion cost $9.50. Although it’s on the high end, it’s well within the expected price range. The price may be justified: the bagel was huge — easily the biggest bagel I’ve had thus far. Typically, bigger bagels are less dense and chewy, but Bagelsmith maintains the proper texture despite the size of their bagels. While it’s tough to complain about getting a lot of food, I wouldn’t have minded a smaller, slightly cheaper bagel. Proportionate to the bagel’s size, the bagel came with a heavy dose of delicious lox. The salty smoked fish nearly melted in my mouth and struck a perfect balance with the cream cheese, tomato, and onion.

The everything with cream cheese cost $3.00, the most expensive bagel and cream cheese yet. However, it was also the biggest bagel and had the most cream cheese yet. Again, I wouldn’t have minded a smaller bagel with less cream cheese at a lower price. As far as taste and texture, Bagelsmith’s everything hits the mark.

Overall, you can’t beat the speed and convenience offered at Bagelsmith, just as you can’t beat their serving size, for better or worse.

  • Taste: 10
  • Texture: 10
  • Value: 8
  • Intangibles: 8
  • Final Score: 9

Have-a-Bagel

Searching for Brooklyns Most Bodacious Bagel: Part 2

The delightful bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion from Have-a-Bagel | Photo by Austin Ruby/OurBKSocial

With its small storefront just one block from the Marcy Avenue JMZ station, Have-a-Bagel is in a perfect location for commuters to make a quick stop on their way to work. Serving everything from bagels to omelettes to burgers, they have a little of everything. The store is takeout only with no seats or counter space, and lighting quick service.

The plain bagel with lox cost $8.95 and the everything with cream cheese cost $2.75, both in line with prices at other shops. The plain bagel was the New York bagel I dreamt about in San Francisco: compact, dense, and chewy. Hand-rolled perfection. With a standard portion of lox and just the right amount of cream cheese, This bagel checked just about every box on the perfect bagel list, topped with a nice portion of lox and just the right amount of cream cheese. The everything bagel was just as good. It balanced garlic with salt, poppyseed and other seasonings on a crusty, delicious bagel.

Have-a-Bagel serves up bagels that will warm traditionalists’ hearts and fill their stomachs in an old school takeout setting. It may not be the place to hang out and enjoy your bagel, but it’s certainly the place to beat for getting a bagel on the go.

  • Taste: 10
  • Texture: 10
  • Value: 9
  • Intangibles: 8
  • Final Score: 9

The Bagel Store

Searching for Brooklyns Most Bodacious Bagel: Part 2

The Bagel Store’s bagels fell a bit short | Photo by Austin Ruby/OurBKSocial

Just down the street from Bagelsmith sits The Bagel Store. Home of the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) rainbow bagel, this shop definitely isn’t known for sticking to the fundamentals. The small, cash-only store next to the Graham Avenue L stop has a quirky interior with a variety of bagel flavors and spreads. There’s room for a few people to stay and eat their bagels at the counters lining the windows, but not much.

At $9.95 for a bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion, and $3.05 for a bagel with cream cheese, the Bagel Store had the most expensive bagels yet. Both bagels were much thinner and had larger holes than other bagels I’ve tasted. They also were much crunchier on the outside and softer on the inside. While both bagels had excellent flavor and the lox and cream cheese came in ample portions, this simply wasn’t the type of bagel I was looking for.

The Bagel Store’s bagels taste great but fall flat on texture, which is equally important. They may better serve a novelty-seeking customer than someone looking for a classic New York-style bagel.

  • Taste: 9
  • Texture: 6
  • Value: 5
  • Intangibles: 7
  • Final Score: 7

What’s your favorite bagel place in Brooklyn? Have you had similar experiences at these places? Want to call me a pretentious bagel snob who wouldn’t appreciate a good bagel if it popped out of the toaster right into his lap? Let me know in the comments section here or on Twitter/Instagram.

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