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Oct 3, 2006 10:09 PM

Good Bialy's in Brooklyn

Can't manage to get to Kossar's, I work and live in Brooklyn. Where are good bialy bakeries in the borough?

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  1. Don't believe that hype about the Coney Island Avenue / Avenue U place with the sizzling neon sign...tried it and regret it, of course if you're into blueberry bagels then you need stop by.

    BELL's BIALYs is the Brooklyn bialy king and there is a bakery somewhere in East Flatbush or the Canarsie area. Beware though, as Bell's has experienced quality shifts in the past year, the rumor being that it's gone from a "hand-made" to a mass-production mechanized factory operation.

    FRIEDMAN'S in the old 13th Avenue Market building (corner of 40th Street, Borough Park) gets Bell's most everyday and, as I've experienced, you need to look carefully inside the bag. Some bags have the classic white-dusted, cooked-onion-y-center type and others appear to be a "bagel-y", golden-egg-y version which looks way too consistent or machine-made.

    You'll likely find Bell's in other Kosher food emporia especially around Avenues J & M and throughout Borough Park and, possibly, Williamsburg.

    While you're at it, a quick stroll over to BAGEL SPOT (14th Ave. & 43rd St.) gets you equally classic small-sized bagels in good old-fashioned flavors.

    Pick up a copy of Mimi Sheraton's "Bialy Eater's: The story of a Bread and a Lost World" book from a couple of years ago.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mike R.

      Fresh Direct sells Bell's. they're not Kossar's, but they'll do in a pinch.

      1. re: Mike R.

        Bell Bialys is the total king of the bagel and bialy! Last year when the Jets were going for the AFC championship, Bell gave away green bagels in their honor. I don't know where you got your information but my class has gone on trips to the bakery and they make all their bialys and bagels by hand the way their dad taught them from Europe. You can also buy them in Florida under the name Ray's Bialys in Publix. You can't find a tastier Bialy than Bell. By the way, I am not Bell or even related to him.

        Bagels by Bell
        10013 Foster Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11236

        1. re: Mike R.

          I remember when Bell was on Flatlands Ave as a child. They move to Foster Ave near Rockaway Parkway. They are now mass produced. Not the same any longer. But still good .

        2. I've tried them all, and nothing approaches Kossar's. Bite the bullet and go into Manhattan. I buy 3 dozen at a time and freeze most of them. It's not quite the heavenly experience of fresh ones, but it's still better than anything else.

          1. Where is KOSSAR'S? How do you wrap and freeze Bialys so they stay fresh?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Fleur

              Kossar's is on Grand just east of Essex in Manhattan.

            2. KOSSAR'S is near the corner of Grand & Essex Streets (Lower East Side)...just steps to the Doughnut Plant. Two different worlds!

              While bialys might be the eponymous product, treat yourself to a "medium" or a bulka or platzl if they have 'em fresh. used to have some spot-on old-fashioned bagels, but that may have changed.

              You're really in a foodie 'hood and Chinatown's edge has bucked right up against the older, yiddishe stuff.

              Wrap your bialys in a plain plastic zip-lock bag and they'll survive.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Mike R.

                Mike R.,
                You are definitely passionate about your bialys. If you're in Queens, Forest Hills/Kew Gardens area, you might want to check out Hot Bialys on Queens Blvd. I make sure to get there around 6:30am, when they're right out of the oven. They are hand-rolled with the onion center, soft and fresh with lots of flavor.

                Having already experienced the greatness of Kossar's - I miss the old sign, by the way - you're making me want to check out the Bell's bialy.

                Let's enjoy the few excellent bialys while they're still around.

                1. re: Polecat

                  polecat, thanks for the heads up about this place. i moved to kew gardens 4 years ago and now that i know hot bialys is recommended by a fellow chowhounder, i'll be sure to give them a try.

              2. Refresh my memory - where on QB is your Hot Bialy place?.

                So you liked the old sign? too, just like we treasured the blazing Knish Nosh (green) neon and Bahar's green neon shape of Afghanistan on Coney Island Avenue. Can you imagine if Nathan's ever switched off the lighting on Surf Avenue and went to some vanilla sheet metal?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Mike R.

                  It's a stone's throw away, on the north side, from the Union Turnpike F line and bus stop, about a block or so away, walking towards Forest Hills. I recommend getting there, if possible, between 6 and 7 in the morning - the first piping hot bialys of the day, for that long-ago, far away childhood taste. Like Kossars - although maybe not in that same venerated league - these badboys have the power to transport.

                  You can't miss the italicized "Hot Bialys", jet black on yellow, yet another pretty good sign. The Nathan's sign should attain landmark status in and of itself, as should the Gertel's Bakery sign, which seems to be hanging on for dear life.

                  ( we're off on another tangent, I know...)

                  1. re: Polecat

                    Mike, re the Hot Bialys sign: check that, erase it. The lettering is neither black nor italicized. It is red on yellow, though. Long live Bialys in NYC.