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Oct 14, 2006 05:28 AM

San Rafael - New York by the Bay Deli – real NY owners ... real water bagels.

So I looked in the bag and thought “gee, looks like a real bagel. I remember those after all”. Even better was the owner who spoke like a real New Yorker.

At one time they made the bagels, now they have a Richmond bakery make them to their specs. So I bite it and think, "yeah, this is a real bagel."

I was regretting that I didn’t get some bagels from House of Bagels (HOB) when I was in SF in the morning so I could compare. Then Mollie Stone in San Rafael came to the rescue because they had bagels from both House of Bagels and Marin Bagels (MB). NY by the Bay won in a side by side tasting.

Excellent shiny skin (crust?), the bagel was soft, yet chewy. The only mark down might be for a touch of sweetness like a water challah. The HOB was dry by comparison and the MB was only ok compared to the other two.

No take-out menu, just a sign on the wall listing sandwiches and breakfast items. There is a small deli case of house-made salads like whitefish. Searching around on the web there were mentions of good brisket, pastrami, chicken liver pate and correctly steamed Hebrew National hot dogs. Dr. Browns Cel-Ray and Yoohoo are available.

I didn’t get more because I was full and disappointed by a pastrami sandwich across the street at Roast Haus. I didn’t look too closely when I saw the pastrami wrapped in plastic.

It isn’t a fancy looking place, sort of like an average NY corner deli. The tiny shop is next to the gas station. There’s five tables.

After eating here, you can always go across the road to Silberman’s and get a real and excellent lemon ice.

New York by the Bay indeed.

Has anyone tried anything else here?

New York by the Bay Deli & Café
1005 Northgate Dr (near the Marin Civic Center, right at the Frietas exit off-ramp, across the road from Safeway).
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 472-6674

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  1. Two years ago, I had a good egg cream there. Here's the discussion about the deli -

    Is there still a House of Bagels in downtown San Rafael?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Don't know, maybe someone in San Rafael knows. I was just happy to see Mollie Stone carried the bagels from House of Bagels.

      Thanks for the link. I don't know if I caught Roast Haus on a bad day but my $4.50 half-sandwich on stale, supermarket-quality pumpernickle with yellow mustard had four, small, uber-lean pieces of pastrami that tasted like something they ordered from Sysco and re-heated. I think that Tyrol place is gone under any name. If it was near Silbermann's the spot is empty with some not entirely removed lettering about breakfast and lunch.

      1. re: rworange

        Taste of Tyrol is gone (sob!) Every town needs a classy little bakery with adjunct cafe, and now San Rafael is without one, leaving a void which sorely needs filling.

      2. re: Melanie Wong

        Yes it is still there..right downtown...

      3. "Mollie Stone in San Rafael" .. do you mean the MS in Greenbrae at the Bonaire shopping center?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sharuf

          Yes, Thanks. I spent too many years in SF. That whole side of the Bay is Marin to me ... which is next to Sonoma next to Napa. I'm starting to get good with the East Bay learning in the past two years about citiies like, uh, Albany and Kensington. Now if I could only locate Antioch where there was a review about some Afghani joint. Antioch, that's near Pittsburg.

        2. Update on San Rafael's House of Bagels: it has been bought by Hilary Kinsler Ghiringhelli who used to have a great, tiny, place in Fairfax serving her home-made, home-style Jewish cooking. It was in the location now occupied by the great ice creamery, Fairfax Scoop. So, I mean tiny. Wonderful matzoh ball soup, chopped chicken liver and more. She disappeared for a while, then resurfaced in SR's House of Bagels which she will now continue to operate making fresh, boiled bagel several times a day as well as offering her own home-made knishes, blintzes and more. I sadly confess not to having tried Hilary's new place yet, but I really liked her Ffx place. I will remedy this shortcoming and report when I have done so.

          Here is link to Marin Independent-Journal's restaurant news column with report by Leslie Harlib (I-J's own Inside Scoop) on Hilary taking over House of Bagel:

          (If you do the link: also note in article that Dan and Holly Baker, of Marche aux Fleurs, are opening an all-local food restaurant in San Anselmo. More good Marin Chowhound news.)

          2 Replies
          1. re: alfairfax

            Al, would you check to see whether she has kasha knishes, also smoked sable?

            1. re: alfairfax

              Al, that would be great. I've been missing your voice on the board. Hope we can get other locals to talk up Marin more, there's lots going on.

            2. That's very good news. Since the long-time owners left a few years ago it's been through a few hands and lost the original NY deli character, and I stopped going there quite a while ago. It's now at the top of my list.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Mick Ruthven

                Well, don't forget to stop down the road to Hilary's for a bagel taste-off ... the woman gets up at 3:30 am to personally make them.

                1. re: rworange

                  Now I'm confused. Isn't Hirary's the House of Bagels on 4th St. just west of 101 in San Rafael, which is what I thought I was talking about?

                  1. re: Mick Ruthven

                    Hilary's was House of Bagels. New York by the Bay is a few exits up on 101 across the street from Silbermann's and Safeway.

                    1. re: rworange

                      If I remember correctly, NY by the Bay was first opened by the son of the folks who ran San Rafael's House of Bagels for many years. When they lost HOB, the family opened up on Frietas Parkway, accross from Northgate One and just under the Four Points (?) hotel. First right turn to the west of 101.

              2. Went by the other day and bought bagels and whitefish salad . Have not had such great whitefish since my days in the Bronx.
                Next to take the Pastrami home

                1 Reply
                1. re: mustardgirl

                  Good to hear. If you think about it, would you ask who makes their pastrami?