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Brooklyn Bagel Bakery

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  • Mr. Taster Jun 25, 2004 03:11 AM
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Hi 'hounds

Well I've read the reviews (from J Gold and in other places) about the transcendent bagels at Brooklyn Bagel Bakery on Beverly near the Alvarado/Rampart area.

I'm from New Jersey where even some of the local grocery stores make good NY bagels (and I went to school in Missouri, where the local grocery bagels were like white bread rings.) So I've experienced both extremes.

I've gone 3 times to BBB and have been underwhelmed each time... but I really want to like them and am not ready to give up on them yet.

What am I missing here? Perhaps it was because I went in the afternoon after the bagels had been sitting around? (Although I must say, a good NY bakery bagel doesn't taste bad even at a day old... the texture becomes only slightly chewier, so this does not give me hope for BBB)

Any tips or tricks on snagging a primo bagel at BBB would be most welcome. My favorite bagels are simple poppyseed, with cream cheese and belly lox (which it seems is only attainable at Barney's Greengrass, per a posting I started several weeks ago).

Please note that this is not a posting requesting other bagel places in LA. I've seen those threads and no need to re-hash them here.

Mr. Taster

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  1. I wish you luck with BB. The one time I went they were hot out of the oven, but this seemed to make little difference. They were, frankly, horrible. I am a former New Yorker and bagel-lover, so my standards are probably pretty high. Still, for a place that was named "Best of" by the LA Weekly, I expected much better.

    1. I think it's a compared to what? situation. Compared to other bagels locally available, BBB is pretty good, maybe the best. Compared to NY bagels, not so good. Maybe you should switch to croissants.

      1. Mr. Taster, I don't think you're missing anything. I, like you, are from NJ and went to BBB at least three times after reading raves and a friend's high recommendation. Each time I was disappointed and couldn't understand what the fuss was all about. All I can figure is that either I have unusually high standards for bagels, or that most of the people raving about them aren't all that familiar with a "real" East Coast bagel (this is NOT a knock on the people who like them--just an observation...please don't flame me!). The only ones I've had that come close to East Coast bagels (above all else, they have that outer "crust") are at the NY Bagel Company in Brentwood.

        JMHO,
        Mara

        1. I don't know, personally, I love them, but I suppose it's because I'm a native Angeleno. But before you give up, try an onion or pumpernickl bagel lightly toasted with cream cheese and lox, if you wish. It's not even necessary that it be super-fresh, but you most toast it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chowpatty

            Truly excellent bagels are soft and chewy inside with a crunch on the outside-- without toasting!! You can even eat them plain, without cream cheese, sort of like you would a soft pretzel. Man, I need to go back home for a bagel fix :-)

            Mr. Taster

          2. BBB and Western Bagel are about as good as you're going to get out here.

            I'm from NYC originally and I concur, the bagels are just better back there. The reason? As best as I can determine, it's the WATER.

            Ex-NYers have come out here with their family recipes, methods, and ingredients for making bagels and they just don't taste the same.

            At least the weather's nice out here...

            :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tusc

              Yup, definitely the water.

            2. I never much cared for the bagels at BBB either. I like The Bagel Broker (7825 Beverly Blvd., near Fairfax, (323) 931-1258), and I've heard there's a place on Robertson somewhere that's good as well. Can't say how either compares to those available in NY, but if nothing measures up, there's always H&H at Barney Greengrass.

              1. I agree. And to put a bit more perspective on it, even before it became a Brooklyn Bagel, there was another bagel producer there at that location (I'm not sure but it might have been called Western (not sure if related to present Western Bagel)and the bagels even then, 25 years ago, were not that good. Personally, I think it gets good reviews because it LOOKS like it ought to have fabulous bagels, set in a warehouse like location. Having said that bagels, like so much other food, is an individual taste. Some like then doughy, others want them soft, and soft like them crisp. Me, I'm a Western Bagel guy, with Bagel Broker a close but distinct second.

                1. As a native Angelena, I must defend Brooklyn Bagel as they used to be! When my Brooklyn-born husband and I first met, 30+ years ago, we'd stop in there very late at night on the way home from whatever we'd been doing and pick up warm bagels for the morning, splitting an onion stick on the way home. They were heavenly!

                  What happened to them was what happened to bagels everywhere - they became de-ethnicized (not sure if that's a word, but you know what I mean). They grew large and puffy, and lost all their character. As Calvin Trillin says, quoting his daughter, "It's round bread".

                  The sad thing is that when we were last in New York, most bagels weren't much better.

                  1. The last good water bagels I had in LA were at a bagel bakery next to Juniors in Westwood years ago.

                    Whoever gets a NY plain right, will be a very popular millionaire.

                    Pick me up 2 dozen next time you fly back.

                    At least I've found good corn rye.

                    1. Hi Mr. Taster.

                      Unfortunately, we share the same experience with BBB, so I can't impart any advice.

                      I've been there a handful of times, hoping for the aforementioned transcendent experience at different times of the day, only to be underwhelmed each time.

                      Don't know if you ever had the pleasure of the potato-flour black pepper bagels (now discontinued) at Noah's, but they were indeed a lovely transcendent experience.

                      Good luck in your quest.

                      Shelley

                      1. I'm a true BB lover. I would suggest you buy the bagels frozen. They're only $2.50/dozen, and defrosted as needed, they taste fresh and delicious.