Who knew a Montreal-inspired bagel would cast a Cronut-like spell on otherwise sensible New Yorkers? Yet there they were, lining up on Elizabeth Street outside Black Seed Bagels soon after the bakery-café opened two weeks ago.
Chowhounds say these bagels are well worth your time: made of a New York–style eggless dough, rolled by hand, boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in a wood oven, à la Montreal. The result is terrific and "different from any other bagel I've had in NYC," loratliff writes. "It wasn't massive or doughy, but a little crispy on the outside and even a little blackened from the wood-fired oven." She's enjoyed them (after waits ranging from no time to mercifully brief) in a couple of sandwiches—one with lox-and-dill spread, radish, and sprouts, and another with beet-cured salmon, horseradish cream cheese, radish, and herbs. She faults only the spreads, which can be light on the lox, horseradish, or other advertised ingredients. Another 'hound, sam1, has avoided the queue at Black Seed ("I've been watching from afar as dorks find new things to wait on lines for," he scoffs). Instead he sampled its bagel a few blocks north at Mile End Deli's NoHo sandwich shop, and was not thrilled. "It was fine ... a total OK," he says.
Black Seed's Quebec connection is co-owner Noah Bernamoff, a Montrealer whose Mile End Deli cures and smokes its own spicy, Chowhound-endorsed brisket. For distinctive Montreal-style bagels, though, no local source could match the ones Bernamoff once shipped in from Quebec institution St-Viateur—and that was part of the impetus behind Black Seed, a partnership with Matt Kliegman of The Smile cafés.
Besides drawing crowds in Nolita, Black Seed has already lined up a second location at the former World Financial Center, rechristened Brookfield Place. Its neighbors in an upmarket "dining terrace" called Hudson Eats, which is expected to open later this month, will include 'hound favorites like Mighty Quinn's Barbeque, Num Pang Sandwich Shop, and Umami Burger.
Black Seed Bagels [Nolita]
170 Elizabeth Street (between Spring and Kenmare streets), Manhattan