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Aug 25, 2012 09:30 PM

Beauty's Bagel Shop - Oakland

Supposed to open tomorrow.

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    1. At 9:40am, there was a line out the door. By 10:15, when i placed my order, it almost doubled in size. There's a good sized and well prepared staff and about 33 seats. The 2000 lb, 9x9 oven is visible and so big they had to move it in through the window. Once i ordered, I had a nice view of them boiling and baking the bagels. These bagels are fresh and you can smell it.

      Outside of some nominally "Montreal style bagels" I had in Toronto, these were my first. They're flattish and round with a large hole in the center.

      I tried the onion, sesame, and the everything by themselves since they give those out when you order. I also placed an order for a salt and pepper with cream cheese. All had a thick and crunchy exterior, and both their tops and bottoms were generously coated in toppings Unlike the Old Brooklyn bagels I had earlier this week in Rockridge, these had a resilient crumb that suffered from little to no compression with each bite. That makes them a bit denser than I prefer, but IIRC, that's a stylistic tendency and still very good.

      The cream cheese was excellent and had a nice tang. They'd unfortunately toasted the bagel on one of those conveyer belt things, which might make sense for an hours old bagel, but the bagels I'd been given at the counter were still warm and crunchy. I really didn't get their reasoning for toasting since it also slows down the line. There was minimal salt on the bagel, which was surprising since the other bagels were teeming with toppings. The top was okay, but since It had been unevenly cut, the bottom was almost as crisp as a bagel chip. I'd noticed that the bulkier onion bagels tended to char slightly at the top, but not too bad.

      It's their first day, so it was not unexpected that it would take a while for a prepared bagel. I got my salt & pepper bagel and cream cheese at 10:57. The meantime was spent with locals, many of whom had heard of the opening in a community newsletter. I'm not sure if my NY family would laugh more at the wait or the price of the $3 Schmendrick's bagel. In any case, I'd go back when the craziness of the opening slows down, but for now, I'd recommend getting a dozen to go.

      8 Replies
      1. re: hyperbowler

        I heard the bagels pretty much sold out in the first hour.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Was that yesterday or today? They were still coming out fresh at 11 today. I dont know how much dough they have, but I'd be curious to hear if they make it past noon.

          1. re: hyperbowler

            Today's the grand opening, right? If still being produced at 11am, sounds like the observer was simply too impatient.

            1. re: hyperbowler

              I was the forth person in line at the opening at 8:00AM.

              I could write a 10 page rant on the incompetents of the opening day employees and lack of preparedness of the owners.

              But instead I will talk about the bagels.

              After a 35 minute wait in line.... I bought a dozen bagels.(yes it took them 35 minutes to take the orders of 3 people)

              I got 6 "Everythings",3 Sesame and 3 poppy's right out of the oven.
              $19.50 /Dozen.
              Certainly the most expensive bagels I have ever bought.

              However...they were also the best tasting!

              I ate the hot poppy on the way home and it was really very tasty.
              Great texture and crust and a delightful malty flavor.

              When I got home I toasted a "everything" ,added some Kerrygold butter and was in bagel heaven.

              I'm not sure if it was toasting but that bagel had a very subtle but delightful wood smoked flavor (I did not taste in the poppy) and it was fantastic!

              I can't wait for tomorrow morning to try a cream cheese with fresh chives from my garden.

              Yes, I am a chive snob.I must have chives on my baked potatoes and bagels.
              They only offer green onion cream cheese,not chive,which was disappointing.

              Go check em out...but prepare to wait till they get things ironed out.

              1. re: Mission

                As a Montrealer, I'm coming to try this place when I'm in town, but at this price you could have bagels shipped overnight from the original St. Viateur bakery (CAD$29 for 48 bagels or $43.50 for 72 +shipping) and not even have to leave your house. They even freeze well if you pre-slice them.

              2. re: hyperbowler

                I'm not sure what time I got there (noon?) but they had closed.

            2. re: hyperbowler

              Got there around 9:30 or so - line was just out the door by that point, and after a fairly interminable wait (both to get to the front of the line, and to get the food after ordering), I got my smoked trout salad on onion bagel and 2 everything bagels to go. The crunchy crust is probably the best quality of the bagels I had today - like hyperbowler described it, it's a fairly thick exterior, but has a nice snap to it, and the toppings were prominent. I found the everything bagel interior to be a bit dry, though, something which the moisture of the trout salad presumably mitigated in my onion bagel. Chew was good, moderately dense interior.

              Overall, the bagels were solid, but I still give the overall nod to Baron's, I think - this place is super-convenient to my home and workplace, though, so assuming the opening day's crush of humanity eases up somewhat in the days/weeks to come, I'll probably drop by often enough for a bagel fix.

            3. Tried a plain. Visually very appealing. Nice crust, appropriately dense crumb, but mealy rather than chewy. Much better toasted.

              Different from anything I've had, I can see the kinship with old-school New York bagels but it's definitely not the same thing. Seems like hot out of the oven they could be very good.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Fresh out of the oven is definitely the way to go. At 9AM, they had a constant flow of just made bagels and a pretty short line. Just ask them for what's still warm.

                Delicious coffee cake, not great pickles.

                1. re: hyperbowler

                  Not great is putting it mildly - whomever is in charge of making their pickles needs to hand the job over to someone else. The texture of a damp towel is not the texture I expect in a pickle...

                  1. re: Spatlese

                    Yeah, it was pretty awful-- I was less charitable in the pickle thread:


                    Anyone try their non-cucumber pickles?

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      I reiterated my critique of their pickles in a thread on their FB page, and the next time I wandered into the store, the woman behind the counter recognized me as the FB pickle critic, and told me they had a new producer's stuff for sale. MUCH better - nice crunch, moderate sour tang, pretty much what I was hoping for from their pickles.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Agree with Robert's assessment. Missing the chew and not very interesting when eaten at room temp. Good use of salt, in a pretzel-y kind of way, but I otherwise had hard time detecting flavor profile.

                  1. re: rubadubgdub

                    I've not managed to have any room temperature ones yet, but I'd imagine they'd get tough very quickly. Any idea whether any of the shortcoming described reflect the style or implementation? I'll be in Montreal in a few weeks if no one answers that before I do ...

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      I think the implementation was fine so it may be the style. A friend bought a dozen for brunch so I tried different flavors but they were about the same taste (and we didn't toast them). Perhaps it suffers in the way that wood fired pizza does when eaten as takeaway---it's not the same experience after the first five minutes.

                3. Today everything and poppy seed both overcooked crust and dry.

                  1. Not sure I'll ever understand the appeal of egg and cheese bagel sandwiches, but theirs gives a good helping of eggs and is served with a side of two pickled mini carrots (the ones with the stem, not the capsule shaped ones).

                    Smoked trout salad is great, and gets suspended over the bagel hole via a ramp of lettuce. The short stature and big center hole of the Montreal style bagels make it a lot friendlier to a closed faced sandwich than a NY bagel.

                    Not counting their opening day, they've proven to be a consistent product across three other visits. I understand the denseness to be a hallmark of Montreal bagels, and though its not my bagel preference, it's good stuff.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      Solid they are. Really quite dense. The opposite of fluffy sandwich bread bagels. Not like a New York bagel. I wonder about the yeast in these babies. The place seems like a fun hangout for hipsters.