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Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. Opens in Beverly Hills

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I'm anxiously awaiting reviews for Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. (262 S. Beverly Drive) which opened yesterday. Larry King is connected to the co., which plans to open many other stores in the L.A. area soon. According to their website, the secret to their bagels is all about the special NY-style water that they use.

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  1. A friend told me he was not impressed...while im still hopeful, down deep I figured it was nothing but hype!

    1. It takes lot more than "the water" to make an outstanding bagel.

      1. the consensus i've gotten is that they're decent or even pretty good warm, but once cooled, really nothing at all to write home about. to quote my friend, "i mean, it's edible, but i think there are better uses of stomach space and appetite."

        as a side and slightly OT note, my neighbor got into a thing with the owner. she was getting ready to back out of a spot on beverly, when this guy pulled into the "no parking spot" next to her and blocked in her in. when she said something, he said, "well you can back up and pull in and you can get out." and she pointed out the no parking thing. he said, "i own this store." meanwhile there was a cop 2 feet away who said nothing. interesting. i guess cops like bagels just as much as donuts.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          no properly made bagel has much staying power once it gets cold.
          your criticism actually has made me MORE likely to spend the time, gas, and carbs to try this thing.. . . .

          1. re: westsidegal

            are you saying there's no such thing as a good cold (is room temp a better word?) bagel?
            just trying to clarify.
            thanks.

            1. re: westsidegal

              i hope you do! to clarify, i didn't try them, was just passing along the intel i got from a few ex-NYC friends... i hope you love them :)

            2. re: Emme

              Boy, I'd be really nervous about leaving my car unattended after royally pissing someone off. Just saying.

              I tried this bagel and it was not bad. Having never been to Brooklyn, I don't have a point of comparison. I liked Noah's better.

              1. re: granadafan

                Noah's isnt really a bagel, its steamed bread. A real bagel is kettle boiled

            3. I tried the bagels, both fresh and "left-over". I think they're pretty tasty. They have a harder skin than many, which gets even harder once the sat for 12 hrs, and are dense but not doughy. To me these are actually positive atributes and "authentic". They also had a wide array of flavors.
              I wouldn't drive across town to get them, but they're better bagels than most places, and no bagel is worth a schlep.

              1. If Larry King switches from Nate 'n Al's on a regular basis it might be worth a try. Not sure if he is actually an investor or just a front man, but he was doing PR for them a while back.

                1. I've been to Brooklyn and believe me....this ain't no Brooklyn.
                  Granted, it's new and all...so one should cut them a bit of slack in terms of service...but the counter people here are so inept that the wait was excruciating. I've ordered souffles that came out faster than it took them to put a bagel in a bag. Also...seriously....train the staff on how to use a cash register BEFORE putting them on the line. They should be trained on their time; not mine.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: la2ny2la

                    But how did the bagel taste to a person from Brooklyn...?

                    1. re: ilysla

                      Decent Bagel...Good shmear.
                      Truth be told I'm more Manhattan...but for the right meal I'm over the bridge....and even cross-country.

                  2. So how do they compare to Bagel Nosh, or to the ones at the snack bar in Union Station?

                    -----
                    Bagel Nosh
                    17271 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA

                    1. Being an ex-NY'er, my go-to bagel place is Bagel Broker on Beverly/Fairfax. How do these compare?

                      -----
                      Bagel Broker
                      7825 Beverly Blvd 5, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                      1. Larry King was a guest yesterday on "The Talk" tv show and brought the gals bagels from Brooklyn Water Bagels. He also had them sample glasses of water that came from their machine that duplicates high quality NY water. Larry said that he is at the eatery every morning.

                        -----
                        Brooklyn Water Bagel
                        262 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: HBfoodie

                          So............. a little money in his pocket and Larry abandons a 25 year+ relationship with Nate and Al's???? Or does he stop by BWB and then still hangs with his cronies at N&A??? Inquiring minds, with w-a-a-a-y too much time, want to know.

                        2. Once again, I was thrown off by the name...

                          "Water bagel' is not a term you hear back east. In NY/NJ we would just call it a plain bagel. I still think "Water bagel" is a really odd term, and I've lived in LA for 14 years.

                          So anyway, to parse the name of this business more accurately, it would be:

                          "BROOKLYN WATER" Bagel Co.
                          NOT....
                          Brooklyn "WATER BAGEL" Co.

                          As in, "we use the water from Brooklyn to make our bagels."

                          However, even the logo of the business itself belies that fact... running "Water Bagel Company" together.

                          http://www.brooklynwaterbagels.com/

                          I have a headache.

                          Mr Taster

                          16 Replies
                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            "Water Bagel" (plain and white in color) can be used to differentiate between itself and an "Egg Bagel" (plain and yellow in color".

                            1. re: JAB

                              Nope.. one is a plain bagel and the other is an egg bagel :)

                              One would never be mistaken for the other back east, in the same way one would never interpret "let's get pizza for dinner" as "let's go to Sbarro's."

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                For a real treat, go to Brooklyn Bagel Company http://www.brooklynbagella.com/
                                Nothing better than their fresh bagels. They sell to Nate'n Al's among others.

                                1. re: maudies5

                                  Clearly, you've not read my multiple posts on Brooklyn Bagel over the last 8 years or so....

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/61127
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7278...
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6557...

                                  Mr Taster

                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                  I don't know Mr. T. I grew up in NYC and, while a plain bagel was definitely a 'plain bagel', it was also a water bagel. Of course I think that, in the 'olden days' you had plain (water) bagels, egg bagels, and biales............... and not much more.

                                  I've never quite understood your aversion to the chewiness of Brooklyn Bagel's bagels. Chewiness is the one thing that I find missing in almost every bagel I've had in my 50 years in LA. What I remember my Aunt bringing to our Queens house from Rattner's was definitely chewy. And "chewy" was what I recall on business trips back to NY until about 15 years ago.

                                  Of course, there's chewy and there's chewy. I've mentioned, in the past, that I used to work with the guy who now runs BBB. I haven't spoken to him in maybe 20 years, but I should call one day just to see what he says about his bagels and what they compare to for him. He's from New York too. Although he has an obvious bias, his thoughts might be interesting.

                                  1. re: Midlife

                                    I'd love to hear his thoughts.

                                    You're right, there's chewy QQ and then there's chewy like a dog's chew toy. What I look for in a great bagel is a nice crispy exterior that kind of cracks when you bite into it, which them gives way into a soft, chewy interior, and a nice yeasty, malty flavor. Poppy seeds are a plus :) I really like Sam's on Larchmont (and now Sunset)

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      Mr. T,

                                      I don't want to hijack this topic, so I'll keep this nested here. I spoke with him this morning and he still makes his bagels the same way his father did when they began in 1953. He said he (like me) finds their chewiness to be just right, but thinks (like me) that the 'correct' bagel is definitely in the mind of the chewer, as with pastrami, pizza, and so many other things. He said that the chewy perception may have something to do with the fact that their bagels are a bit smaller than many others, so there's possibly 'more chew per inch'.

                                      Here are a couple of other things he said:

                                      1) He and his father haven't believed it really has all that much to do with the water, except that things municipalities add to their water can change the finished product taste. He is very much aware that BWBC "makes" their own water, but it sounded like his Dad spent so many years looking into the 'water connection' that he's satisfied that their water works just fine.

                                      2) BBB 'finishes' bagels a few different ways for different customers (ie- some are 'pan-baked' while others are 'hearth-baked'). He says the differences are minor in taste but it's, again, a personal preference thing...... although it may be a clue as well.

                                      3) Re the 'water' vs. 'plain' issue: he laughed and said that, in reality, all correctly made bagels are 'water' bagels, so a plain bagel is really just that.... a 'plain' bagel............... although, like me, he grew up calling it a water bagel, so it's one of those personal things.

                                      It was really good talking with him after probably 25 years........ so thanks for the impetus. I now know where I can buy his bagels somewhere reasonably close to where I live. I just hope the years haven't changed my perception of them when I get around to picking some up soon.

                                      ;o)

                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        Wow, how interesting. Thank you for reconnecting, and for posting here. Love the commentary about the water/plain bagel issue. I'm guessing your friend was raised in LA, while his father grew up in NYC? Is that true?

                                        On my multiple visits to Brooklyn Bagel over the years, the chewiness has always been too much for my taste, and the malty/yeasty flavor has been too light. (I should say, I really don't go near strawberry bagels or the like... I stick with what I grew up with, which is to say plain, egg, poppy, sesame, onion, garlic, and if I get a wild hair, cinnamon raisin.)

                                        Within the last few years, BBB started offering "NY Style Hearth Baked" as an option, and I remember a rather humorous comment from JGold about this development where he said, more or less, that it was amusing to find "properly baked" merely as one of many different options available to BBB customers.

                                        I guess that observation snuggles in quite comfortably with your friend's philosophy :)

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          Yes. I'm pretty sure he was born in NY but the family came out here when he was very young.

                                          As to the "properly baked" point......... he didn't use that description, but did tell me that there are several different types of baking equipment used in the industry and "pan baking" was just one of them. I'm not sure a true "hearth" would be allowed in a California commercial bakery, or if anyone would pay the price for true 'hearth baked' bagels (a la wood-burning pizza ovens).

                                          This whole thing is making be miss the days when I worked in the Mission Road area and took Beverly Blvd. home to the West Side, so I could stop at BBB. That was long before my friend began working for his Dad.

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            What, no pumpernickle?

                                            1. re: JAB

                                              Hahaha, of course... forgot about that :)

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                OK, you're legit. You had me worried. ;>)

                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                              Thread got me researching "water bagel" as I remember when we used to visit family back east (Manhattan & Rowayton, CT) back in the late 60's that people called plain bagels, "water bagels" which was a term I'd never heard before.

                                              It seems people use the term interchangeably and it might be just to emphasize they are prepared the proper way, being boiled in water first.

                                              http://bialys.com/bagels.aspx

                                            3. re: Midlife

                                              BBB in S OC? Do tell!

                                              1. re: JAB

                                                He told me that Benjie's, in Tustin, gets their bagels from him. That's a 30-40 minute ride for me, but I do get up that way every so often.

                                          2. re: Midlife

                                            My sister works at the Brooklyn Museum archives and came across this magnificent gem.

                                            http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklyno...

                                            Notice when they drop the bagels into the vat, they refer to them as water bagels. But later in the film, they specify "plain" as being one of several varieties of the water bagel.

                                            Mr Taster

                                    2. I wish someone would open a bialy company.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lad1818

                                        When in doubt, place an order with Zabars or Russ & Daughters in NYC, I'm willing to pay a little extra to get the real deal.

                                         
                                      2. Just grabbed a few bagels today. I have to say they are pretty tasty. Not sure the quality justifies the price, a bit higher than most.

                                        The gripe I have is that the employees and the overall daily operations is horrible. It seriously took me 35 minutes to get a few bagels.

                                        I did see Larry King himself grab a bag full of bagels today so it looks like he does in fact eat them.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                                          Bet he doesn't pay for them.

                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            Essentially he does pay for them in the end since he owns the business.

                                            1. re: A5 KOBE

                                              From what I've been told he may be a partner in that location but he doesn't own the franchisor or that location on is own. I got this from a friend who was involved in a legal issue with the company so he had access to who owns it.

                                            2. re: Midlife

                                              Did he have to wait for them?

                                          2. I used to own a bagel company that produced essentially the I&Joy recipies from the 1960-1980 vintage. For my money, best bagel there was. Personally, I currently like the Nosh in BH. Tried Brooklyn this weekend and was very impressed. Similar to what we did. You need to freeze the bagels if you dont eat them within several hours or they will get hard. Their low fat tuna was very good as was the cream cheese. A lot of people behind the counter and still a bit of confusion. My guess is it is going to be a winner.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: BSW6490

                                              I used to love I & Joy. The best that comes closest is NYBD on Wilshire Blvd near 22nd street in Santa Monica. My biggest pet peeve of all except NYBD is that they don't use fresh onions. They use dried onions. Plus if you like the onion pletzels(onion boards) they have the best.

                                              1. re: BSW6490

                                                I miss I & Joy!

                                                1. re: happybaker

                                                  Isn't I & Joy still around under the Manhattan Bagel brand??

                                                  -----
                                                  Manhattan Bagel
                                                  20048 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

                                                  1. re: mucho gordo

                                                    When they were first bought, the bagels tasted the same. But after a bit, no, it seemed to be that they tasted different, that they'd changed the recipe. Sigh.

                                                2. re: BSW6490

                                                  Count me in as one of those folks who LOVED I&Joy.

                                                  Though I have never had a NY bagel in NY, I lived most of my life in Little New York (Miami) but before that in the old Jewish neighborhoods of Cleveland, OH. IMHO, I think I&Joy and Brooklyn Water Bagel are the best (closest to what I was raised on) bagels I've had out here right down to the chewiness.

                                                  As for the water making a difference. I remember seeing a show in Food Network with Ted Allen, where 4 people, some chefs, taste tested a pizza prepared the same way, but each was made made with different water. One pizza was made using NYC water, one from Chicago water, and one using LA water. Not even the pizza chef knew which was which. All the panelists picked the pizza made with the NY water and could articulate the difference in the crust. So maybe there IS something to it.

                                                  -----
                                                  Brooklyn Water Bagel
                                                  262 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                3. Wanted to chime in that I have now tried BWBC twice, and think, to my taste, they are the best bagel around. I like the chewiness, though I know others object, and again to my taste, I don't like a very heavy yeasty flavor or more importantly, smell. Both times, I had them fresh, and then frozen and reheated in a toaster oven. Really liked them both times, and even reheated. Not saying I don't like other bagels, because I do, but I really thought these were the best because of the crackly outside, and soft but chewy inside. Just one bagel lovers opinion.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bruin2

                                                    as much as i detest larry king, i have to agree with you...the marble pumpernickel bagel is classic

                                                    1. re: Bruin2

                                                      I agree. But they are so darn expensive for such a tiny bagel.