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Jul 22, 2003 05:43 PM

New bagel shop in SF/Bagel Brothers

  • g

So I went by this new place the other day, and had a rye bagel. It was pretty good! And...that got me to thinking - has there been a free-for-all on chowhound as to the current state of bagelry in SF?

Has anyone else tried this new place out? How do you think it stacks up against the NY archetype?

Bagel Brothers
495 Castro St.
SF CA 94114
(415) 552-2767

Just for general info - the last major bagel discussion on Chowhound appears to be October 12, 2002 - link provided below. And, there have also been a couple of short discussions:

manhattan and holey bagel shops

the dearth of montreal-style bagels in SF


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  1. Bagels are such a sore point on this board I hesitate to perpetuate a bagel discussion.

    But in the vein of new bagel shops, there's a "House of Bagels" opening on Park St. in Alameda. Does anyone know if this is related to the well regarded House of Bagels in SF? If so, odd as it may seem Park St. may have the highest concentration of decent (if not up to NY standards) bagels in the Bay Area (with the original Boogie Woogie Bagel Boy just a couple of blocks down the street).

    14 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Well, NY bagels are changing too. I saw plenty of oversized poufy torroidal things (to borrow Judith Hurley's adjective) in Manhattan.

      Katz's aren't chewy enough for me. I liked Manhattan Bagel Berkeley and Corte Madera before the buy-out, don't know if they're the same still. House of Bagels is good. My stand-by is still The Bagelry in SF.


      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Quoting Jimm Leff from a three-year old post:

        "Though it pains me to say it, fluffy huge airy bagels are now what "NY Style Bagels" ARE. Style is as style does, and those of us who love compact, dense, shiny, blistery bagels are a tiny fading minority. We lost."

        Someone else referred to today's bagels as a "roll with a hole".

        I haven't been to House of Bagels in years, but I recall them as producing something very close to the NY bagels I knew 40 years ago. Woudn't it be ironic if SF ended up as the guardian of the bagel faith?

        1. re: Gary Soup

          House of Bagels remains the chewiest bagel I've found, outchewing Bagelry, Katz and Boogie Woogie (all good in their own right), even after freezing, if that is the hallmark to strive for. However, they are a bit light on the seeds.

          A couple of newcomers -- Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels, which has a store in Palo Alto now has a branch on Townsend Street between 2nd and 3rd. Also nice chew, but my first impression is that they are a bit light but I'll reserve judgment until I try some more. The other recent entry is that I hear Crossroads Cafe, operated by Delancey Street Foundation in their complex on Delancey near the Embarcadero, actually brings in partially baked bagels from the famed H&H in New York (historically my gold standard for bagels) and finishes them off there. I'd be interested in hearing any reports.

          Anybody find great knishes? Mrs. Maltz (available frozen) aren't bad but I haven't found anywhere that makes them fresh for sale.

          1. re: JimA

            There are no decent knishes in the area that I'm aware of.

            Knish Connection, the knish place on 24th street in Noe Valley, closed nearly 10 years ago, replaced by Tom's Peasant Pies. However so many people came in asking for potato knishes that the ever affable Tom added a potato pie to their menu. It's not a potato knish, but it's not a bad potato pie.

            1. re: Windy
              ChowFun (derek)

              Ah! But do they have a Kasha Pie??
              Kasha is my favorite Knish of all!

              1. re: ChowFun (derek)
                ChowFun (derek)

                Oh yes...there is a site where you can order Knishes (I haven't done so yet, so I don't know the quality) I grew up in Oceanside on Long Island where it is it does bring back some (not always good) memories.


            2. re: JimA
              Stanley Stephan

              I nominate Izzy's for the worst bagel in the city. Only slightly above Sara Lee because they are made the same day.

              1. re: JimA

                Couldn't resist following up on your tip that Crossroads bakes H&H Bagels. Looking at them in the display case, they were larger than I remember H&H's style and looked dull rather than shiny. But I pushed ahead and ordered an onion bagel with cream cheese, heated but not toasted. I had to stop the counter man from MICRO-WAVING my bagel - sheesh! Apparently, that's what they mean by heating, even if it's death to baked goods. So I took it home and put it in the toaster oven at 3oo degrees for a couple minutes, just to warm it up a little.

                This was definitely chewier than our local product. But as I said, larger than I remembered and not as hefty. The mass was still pretty dense, and also undercooked with a line of doughy wetness running through which might be the fault of the bakers on the SF end of the process. It was also sweeter than I remember. The crust lacked the crisp resistance to the bite even after heating and slight cooling.

                It's been about 4 years since I've been to H&H in NY, so can't really trust my recollections. Perhaps someone who's more closely calibrated will also report in. Also, there have been several reports that H&H has gone downhill since opening its plant.



                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  Caitlin McGrath

                  I'm not a fan of H&H. Even baked in NY, they never really have a crusty exterior, and they're all oversweet in an off-putting way - especially when it's an onion bagel. First H&H bagel I tried was an onion and I thought maybe it was an off batch because of the sweetness. Nope.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    I used to love H&H...this saddens me greatly.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                      Caitlin McGrath

                      It's getting harder and harder to find real NY-style bagels of the classic dense, chewy, crusty, smallish sort, or even ones with enough of those qualities to please, in NY. As you might guess, Jim Leff has plenty to say about this, and he has on bagel threads on the NYC boards. Myself, I'm not currently up on the search, as I haven't been much of a bagel eater for a while.

                  2. re: JimA
                    Richard Karlin

                    I'm a bit late in my reply, but if you are still out there here's what I have to say about Bagels and Knishes.
                    First off, I use to sell them fresh for 15 years. Retired now. Sold my business to a smuck who ruined them by not listening to my advice. He no longer sells them. They use to go by the name of California Knishes. They were different from NY knishes in the area of the crust. NY crust were thin and somewhat flaky. My crust was more like a pie dough with a great crispy taste. I made 6 different kinds and sold them Wholesale to health food stores, produce markets and lots of cafes.
                    As far as bagels go Manhattan Bagels are the best. There is one in Berkeley and one I believe in San Francisco.

                    1. re: Richard Karlin
                      ChowFun (derek)

                      So Nu?!!!
                      It's past time to come out of retirement!!!
                      I'll take Kasha please!

              2. re: Ruth Lafler
                Nathan Landau

                There are pretty good "House of Bagels" outlets in a number of suburban communities--I've tried them in San Rafael, Walnut Creek, Burlingame, and Campbell, and I'm pretty sure there are more. They've seemed kind of similar to each other, but maybe I just thought they were. I have this vague idea in mind that there are two House of Bagels chains around here. If it's these folks (or either of these folks!) it will be an improvement on the bagels currently available in the inner East Bay.

              3. c
                ChowFun (derek)

                I had a breakfast there the other day.(sesame bagel)..the bagels are boiled not steamed...which should be a good thing,..but the result..was one of the worst bagels I have ever tasted anywhere. It actually made me mourn the loss of the local Noahs!!!
                The bagel was grotesquely puffed and light..absolutely no chew and no flavor.
                I was hoping for a miracle, but no go!