Rosenfeld Bagels, Newton Centre
Okay, this is an open challenge to anyone who says you can't get a good NY-style bagel in Boston....I've tried bagels from all the sources cited in the last bagel thread (see link), including that excretory mistake being propogated at Zarthmary's. Kupel's is my default...I gottah say, Joanie, Ezra, Baruch et all were right; Rosenfeld's is definitely as good as what as one can get in NY these days....(let's not start on, "Oh, they used to be better"...I'm talking really GOOD NY bagels...)
Although I have a hard time giving credence to anyone who considers a chocolate-chip bagel a food(vbg), Joanie was right on about the potato bagel...It tasted like my grandma's potato knish baked into a bagel, full of sweet onion, poppy seeds, and black pepper; nice heat level....The center was chewy, I mean *really* chewy, and the outside bit back...
But the salt bagel, my belwether, really shone..Halite-sized chunks on the outside, and a crust that had the sheen of a street-corner soft pretzel...Chewy and moist all the way thru...I'm in love, it was definitely worth the drive....Bagels 65 cents, $6 a dozen...bialis are 80 cents, but they only have them on Sundays, so I can't rate them yet...
I will brook no dissent unless you've actually tried them! ;)
Rosenfeld Bagels, 1280 Center St., Newton Centre
I am a fan of Rosenfeld's bagels, too: the use of malt instead of sugar or corn syrup helps keep these to a more authentic flavor and texture (still, they don't quite get completely stale in a few hours -- one of the old tests for authenticity -- probably because they are still somewhat bigger than the original real deal).
The bialys are OK, but not as good as one used to be able to get in the better NY places. Get them if you are there on Sunday, but don't make a special trip for them, would be my view.
I like the challah they sell there, but it might be too sweet and moist for the taste of many (it keeps really well).
Old style bagels are not exactly easily lovable things. There is a reason commercial bagel baking has migrated to make them more easily lovable (but losing character in the process). Old style bagels were relatively small, dense (they did not use sugar to make the yeast wild and gassy), and something that your teeth and jaws had to wrestle a bit with. They did not come in tons of flavors. They sometimes felt like lead in your stomach (that was the point -- they filled you up).
St. Viateur bagels are divine - as Karl S. said, they may be as close as it gets to the bagels or yore (which I never tried, but have heard described).
Rosenfeld's are a great example of what I take to be a new breed of bagel: larger, chewier, more varieties.
To keep on-topic, the now defunct Zaatar's Oven in Brookline used to actually make (or import?) Montreal-style bagels, which were pretty good as I recall. I have yet to hear of anywhere in town that has them, so please if you know something, chime in!
I will say the Rosenfeld Bagel that I got from Galleygirl the other day was really excellent. I agree, traditional, old school NY style bagel.
My one other favorite place is a bit of a haul. I have to say, I was recently accused (by Yum Yum) of being perhaps, just a little bit, (I don't remember the exact word) of a kook. Now Gloucester is a little far to go just for a bagel, but:
Jims Bagel & Bake Shoppe
24 Washington St.
Gloucester, MA 01930
It has really excellent bagels, and pastries. Bagels and pastries in the same shop, sacrilege, I know.
I buy at least a dozen bagels and 3 or 4 pastries every time I go.
Anyhow see the link to my earlier post.