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Aug 6, 2007 10:01 AM

Disappointing Bialy at Kossar's?

I read Mimi Sheraton's book on bialys when it came out a couple of years ago, but I lived out west. I finally made it to Manhatten yesterday and made a pilgrimage to Kossar's and to Sullivan Street Bakery. We bought a small bag of bialys at 12:30 in the afternoon. The one I ate had no onion in the center, although the others did. The crust was okay, but the crumb really disappointing. It was dense (which i expected) but stark white and devoid of any real flavor. Was it made with bleached flour? Was it overmixed? Even the onion bagel at Einstein Brothers in Strongsville, Ohio, has more character as bread goes. Did I get a bad batch. This thing reminded me of the crumb of a bad baguette in Paris twenty years ago.
On the other hand, Jim's Lahey's Sullivan Street bakery was worth the trip. I especially loved the pizza with potatoes. I haven't had one as good since I left Rome decades ago.

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    1. Unlike a bagel, a bialy is inedible if not toasted. Go and toast, and see that Kossar's is still the best. And don't forget the butter.
      As far as bagels go, it's a sad story in ManhattAn (no E!). Some exceptions: Bagel Bob's on University Place, where they make them in the back, with a soft crunch outside and chewy inside. Tal Bagels on 1st Ave in the east 50's offers the same. Neither is zeppelin-sized, as a true bagel would be. Monstrous bagels, and croissants too for that matter, are a sure sign of poor quality.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Wa Shoku

        Thanks. Next trip up, we'll do it again, and toast 'em. And thank you for the bagel tips!

        1. re: Father Kitchen

          How are the bagels at Kossar's? I was planning on making a pilgrimage down there, since they just won the best bagel award from the Zagats Shopping Guide. Are they worth the trip? My favorite bagels are Hudson Bagels in the West Village. I do not like Murray's in Chelsea very much, not worth the hype.

          1. re: Cookiepuss

            I didn't even know Kossar's made bagels. It's all about the bialies. Best when still warm, if not toast them. It doesn't get much better.

        2. re: Wa Shoku

          "...a bialy is inedible if not toasted"
          Can't say that I agree with this. I've had many a chewy, wonderful bialy from Kossar's, never had to toast one of them. I'm sure they're good toasted as well, but I've always found them to be edible and then some.

        3. bialys are best hot from the oven, useless at room temperature, and ok toasted.
          For Bagels go to Ess-a-bagel on 21st and first. for best results just by whatever is hot.

          2 Replies
          1. re: joelm

            I don't believe that Kossar's makes its own bagels. I agree with joelm. Go to Ess-A and order whatever just came out of the oven. If you're lucky, it will be sesame!

            1. re: joelm

              Second this, because when you walk away from Kossars with a warm one it's wonderfully chewy yet tasty. A cold bialy is worthless- which explains why there is so little demand for a bialy nowadays, where businesses are focused on shelf life to maintain profitability.

            2. I too made my first trip to Kossar’s recently and was disappointed by the bialy. I had a bit of one as I was leaving the store and was disappointed, it wasn’t chewy at all and the outside was almost completely white. There was no golden brown goodness anywhere. But toasted it was better than most I had. Who knew a bialy should be toasted for best quality? I also got a challah bagel which was good but not amazing. I also noticed they were selling salt bagels which are few and far between in the city. One footnote, it was a very humid day if that might have anything to do with it.