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New York style bagels

msmouser Jun 14, 2013 01:29 PM

Help, please!!
I am from New York, and like my bagels HARD!
Brueggers in my neighborhood used to be somewhat reasonable, but now they too are making big, plump bagels, that are way too soft,
Is there anyplace in the greater Lexington, MA area where I can find decent, firm bagels??I am desperate!


  1. b
    bear Nov 19, 2013 08:53 AM

    Just curious...has anyone tried the bagels at Cutty's?

    3 Replies
    1. re: bear
      edamame Nov 19, 2013 12:00 PM

      yes. amazing. there is a story on them in the current edible boston.

      1. re: bear
        dchow Nov 20, 2013 06:34 AM

        Yes, and they're great. Neither NY nor Montreal style. Fridays and Saturdays only. She makes the cream cheese mixes, too. Right now there's a honey lavender that changed my mind, and the veggie cream cheese has tiny bits of carrot and broccoli.

        1. re: dchow
          bear Nov 20, 2013 06:48 AM

          Now you both have me itching to get over there soon on a Saturday. Thanks!

      2. g
        gourmaniac Jul 2, 2013 07:29 AM

        I went to Kugel's Deli (Route 9/30) in Framingham recently and was surprised to see that they had bialys (a good sign). i got lox and cream cheese on a toasted bialy and it was excellent. Small, chewy and not doughy. I asked where they get their bagels and bialy's. They ship them from New York half baked and finish them at the Deli. Not sure if it will meet your needs but worth a shot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gourmaniac
          msmouser Jul 2, 2013 07:38 AM

          Thank you, This sounds as if it is worth looking into, Also, I love bialys, I had given up on them!!!

        2. b
          Big D Food Hound Jul 1, 2013 05:59 AM

          Try the "R.E.A.L. Bagels" at Whole Foods. I have spent enough time in Montreal that I can tell you that these are authentic hand-rolled Montreal Style bagels.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Big D Food Hound
            winedude Jul 1, 2013 11:45 AM

            Where have you seen these at Whole Foods? I'm curious, beacause there are R.E.A.L Bagels shop in Montreal, and they're not bad. Are they frozen?

            1. re: winedude
              9lives Jul 2, 2013 08:27 AM

              I saw them at the WF by MGH.

              They were on a shelf above the regular bagels in plastic bags..6 or so each bag..not frozen.

              I haven't tried them.

          2. rubysdad Jun 23, 2013 10:08 AM

            Head west on Rt 2, then take 119/2A at the rotary and find Bagel's Plus about a mile up on the right, just past Colonial Spirits. This is the closest thing you'll find to a NY bagel in the Boston area. Get there early on a Sunday and you might be lucky enough to find a few salt bagels....

            1 Reply
            1. re: rubysdad
              LStaff Jul 2, 2013 07:48 AM

              I used to be a weekend regular when I lived in Concord. I even make the trip out there from Waltham now when a bagel craving hits. One of the best bagels in the area that I've had.

            2. c
              catsmeow Jun 20, 2013 04:58 AM

              I'm a fan of Rosenfelds and Katz's bagels. What I do to get a firmer skin is take a tiny bit of water and brush it in the outside of the bagel(usually do it with my finger). I then bake it in the toaster oven for a few minutes and it gives the bagel a much firmer skin.

              1. Chris VR Jun 19, 2013 04:40 AM

                Lately I've been enjoying Bagel World; in Peabody, Salem and (closest to you) Reading. They are a bit flat and have an OK chew to them, although not hard. I also really like the cream cheese and the one I had last week with lox wasn't bad at all. http://www.bagelworld.net/

                If you go the DIY route, Beer & Wine Hobby has malt extracts, not sure if they do the same thing, but check them out online at http://beer-wine.com. They also have a storefront in an office park in Woburn.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Chris VR
                  9lives Jun 19, 2013 05:18 AM

                  I have a coworker who brings Bagel World to the office from time to time.

                  I've really enjoyed them and the cream cheese is great.

                  I was hesitant to mention them because I haven't had the "freshly cooked" but certainly 1 of my favorite around.

                  I have no control over when I get them, but a nice treat when they're brought in.

                  Ms 9 picked up some Pain D'Avignon at a Farmers Mkt. I froze them but I think it's what WF carries. I remember themas being pretty good.

                  1. re: Chris VR
                    Karl S Jun 19, 2013 06:00 AM

                    Bagel World's chief virtue is that it is one of the few places that has salt bagels, a venerable old-fashioned type. But their bagels are rather big and airy compared to old-fashioned bagels. Katz's are the closest to the real deal (made all the more authentic insofar as they don't try to have all flavors available all the time, you only get to choose from what they've just made).

                    1. re: Karl S
                      phatchris Jun 19, 2013 08:27 AM

                      Newmans has salt bagels as well.

                      1. re: Karl S
                        dulce de leche Jun 21, 2013 11:39 AM

                        Mariposa Bakery in Central Square has salt bagels. I like their bagels best of any I've had in Boston, but I don't know what you'd call the style--softer than Iggy's for sure, but that's not hard to do. Maybe it's Montreal style?

                        The service is hapless, the place is less than spotlessly clean, but dang they really can bake there and they make great coffee, use high quality ingredients.

                        You have to make a point of it, as they're often sold out by mid-morning on weekends.

                      2. re: Chris VR
                        croutonweb Jun 19, 2013 09:06 AM

                        I'm a big fan of Bagel World's bagels, too. Their lox is very mild in flavor.

                      3. t
                        tamerlanenj Jun 18, 2013 11:08 AM

                        I moved away from Boston back to my ancestral home of North Jersey, and it's sad to say that even around here most places are mediocre these days. The post above has it right...bigger, softer bagels have come into vogue, and now I have to hoof it to Bagel Supreme in Union County or Sonny's in South Orange...I can no longer rely on my neighbhorhood joints.

                        I never really found anything matching the bagel of my youth in Boston. Kupel's was just ok. Oddly enough, I sort of liked Finagle a Bagel, especially fresh. They aren't really that NYish but I guess I sort of acclimated.

                        There was also a franchise in the BU College of Arts and Sciences of Einstein Brother's Bagels that were pretty dang close. Any other non-BU branches around?

                        1. w
                          winedude Jun 18, 2013 10:42 AM

                          Although I like Cafe Fresh Bagels (with outposts in Dedham and Needham), I've also recently tried and liked Brooklyn Water Bagels in Framingham. They're owned by Larry King, and have way too much "schtick" for my taste (the marketing, not the bagels), but I have to say, they are MUCH closer to true NYC bagels than anything I've found outside of NYC.

                          I'd recommend the OP check them out!

                          1. m
                            msmouser Jun 18, 2013 07:33 AM

                            Thanks, everyone. I guess I will have to make my own!!!!
                            Anyone know where I can buy malt syrup??????


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: msmouser
                              maillard Jun 18, 2013 07:43 AM

                              I bought malt powder for bagels from Modern Homebrew Emporium on Mass Ave.


                              1. re: msmouser
                                CocoDan Jun 18, 2013 08:29 AM

                                Before I went through that hassle, I'd jump in my car and head over to Katz's. They make a very respectable bagel.

                              2. The Professor Jun 16, 2013 12:23 PM

                                Many bagels these days, even in some 'bagel shops', don't have the proper density to be anywhere near that of the classic NY bagel.

                                The other frequent problem seems to be size...lots of places just make them too darned big (even some NY joints are guilty of that). Some clock in at 600 calories _just_ for the bagel without any added goodies. Traditional, smaller sized bagels are hard to find in the shops.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: The Professor
                                  lergnom Jun 16, 2013 08:13 PM

                                  A standard old bagel, like at Katz's, is 4 ounces but some are now 6 or more.

                                2. l
                                  lergnom Jun 16, 2013 09:51 AM

                                  I stopped at Katz's on the way back from the airport at 7AM Sunday. The bagels are more NY, as I remember, with a real skin. They make a great bagel dog using Vienna Beef dogs.

                                  1. k
                                    Kblb387 Jun 16, 2013 06:42 AM

                                    Although it's a bit of a hike, bronx bagel in milford ma has the best bagels i've found anywhere outside of nyc. Definitely worth a road trip on a free sat or sun morning.

                                    1. l
                                      lc02139 Jun 15, 2013 10:08 AM

                                      As this subject seems to come up about once a year here are some historical post from before, don't know if they places they mention are still open or not. Not all are about hard bagels, let us know what you find since it is such a hot topic.


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lc02139
                                        Prav Jun 17, 2013 03:43 AM

                                        Ha, I love how even the thread from 8 years ago, folks are saying, "This topic has been covered so much already, do a search."

                                      2. j
                                        jajjguy Jun 15, 2013 09:40 AM

                                        Kupel's in Brookline near Coolidge Corner.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: jajjguy
                                          lergnom Jun 15, 2013 09:44 AM

                                          Very much not NY style. Lighter, fluffier, more bread-like.

                                          1. re: jajjguy
                                            Luther Jun 15, 2013 11:41 AM


                                            1. re: jajjguy
                                              blinko1 Jul 1, 2013 12:52 PM

                                              I know people that have worked in slave like conditions at that place and I can say that I would never recommend any food that does not arrive in a sealed container from outside.

                                            2. l
                                              lc02139 Jun 15, 2013 09:25 AM

                                              Bagel's by us just north of Arlington center on Mass ave I think still sells H and H bagels that they bake on site, or you can order them from the H and H site directly.

                                              I haven't tried Wegmans in Northboro bagels yet, but I did noticed they have a kettle to boil them in and they looked great, hopefully the local stores will do the same when they open up.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: lc02139
                                                kimfair1 Jun 17, 2013 05:51 AM

                                                Not sure which bagels Bagels By Us is using now, but H&H is no longer in business. I used to go there when they did have H&H, though.

                                              2. ChinaCat Jun 15, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                Surprisingly, Wegman's makes a pretty good bagel. Northborough probably isn't very convenient to you, but once the Burlington branch opens up, check it out. They do them fresh, and properly boiled.

                                                1. p
                                                  phatchris Jun 15, 2013 05:02 AM

                                                  Not NY style per se, but my favorite in the area is Newmans in Swampscott.. Rye bagel with a schmear of lox spread.

                                                  1. t
                                                    teezeetoo Jun 14, 2013 05:49 PM

                                                    Iggy's are harder and more Montreal-style but they may be closer in texture to what you are looking for. Rosenthal's in newton center make the best bagels locally.

                                                    24 Replies
                                                    1. re: teezeetoo
                                                      lergnom Jun 14, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                      I really like Iggy's but I can't compare them in a material way to an NY bagel. The closest is Katz's. Rosenfeld's - note the spelling - makes a very good bagel but it's not NY.

                                                      Another choice is Bagel Rising on Comm Ave near Harvard. Decent bagels. Really good bagel sandwiches.

                                                      1. re: lergnom
                                                        Luther Jun 15, 2013 04:33 AM

                                                        I never would have thought to try Bagel Rising, thanks for the tip

                                                        1. re: Luther
                                                          Gabatta Jun 15, 2013 08:48 AM

                                                          2nd for Bagel Rising. It's not a good NY bagel, but in Boston it's the best of the rest and has been consistently good for a long time.

                                                          1. re: Luther
                                                            tamerlanenj Jun 18, 2013 11:10 AM

                                                            Yeah, Bagel Rising is pretty good. Do they still carry them at Espresso Royale?

                                                          2. re: lergnom
                                                            gini Jun 17, 2013 05:58 PM

                                                            Rosenfeld's is just ok - we trekked out to Newton a couple of weekends ago to try out these much lauded bagels. They're not bad, but they're still not quite right.

                                                            1. re: gini
                                                              katzzz Jun 18, 2013 06:46 AM

                                                              This is true. Rosenfeld's due score high if you're marking on a curve, which is to say they are in the running for Boston's best, but Boston's best bagels fall short of greatness.
                                                              However, friends in NYC tell me that the quality of bagels there have markedly declined in the past decade of so. If true -- and I have nothing more than this anecdotal evidence -- maybe the great New York bagel no longer exists anywhere except in our memories and dreams.

                                                              1. re: katzzz
                                                                lipoff Jun 19, 2013 07:40 PM

                                                                There are bad bagels and good bagels, but I think everyone's "best" bagel among good alternatives is a matter of taste. However, Rosenfeld's is better than anything I've had in New York City. Rosenfeld's bagels, however, must be consumed with minutes of purchase. Even a few hours later they become harder and stale. Bagel Hut in Great Neck, NY, however, has the best bagels I've ever had. There are no longer Jewish neighborhoods in New York City, but there are on Long Island, so its not surprising that the best bagels have migrated to the suburbs.

                                                                1. re: lipoff
                                                                  mkfisher Jun 20, 2013 06:50 AM

                                                                  Totally off topic for this board, but yes the best bagels are in fact now on Long Island.

                                                                  1. re: mkfisher
                                                                    teezeetoo Jun 23, 2013 12:33 PM

                                                                    actually the best NY bagels I've had are at Great Barrington Bagel Company on Route 7 in Great Barrington. Far and away the best bagels I've found.

                                                                    1. re: mkfisher
                                                                      PHREDDY Jul 1, 2013 06:12 AM

                                                                      Queens and Brooklyn are part of Long Island...Still some good bagel stores there too..Such as Utopia Bagels in Whitestone, NY

                                                                    2. re: lipoff
                                                                      LStaff Jul 2, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                                      My non-scientific research tells me that lifespan of a fresh bagel from Rosenfelds is less than 20 minutes (that's how long it takes me to get them home) before they need some toasting to bring them back to life.

                                                                      I have great memories of the bagels from some small shops in Rockland/Bergen counties of NY/NJ. Even Goldbergs (small chain which made good, but not the best bagels) are better than anything I've had in this area.

                                                                      1. re: lipoff
                                                                        jmarya Oct 5, 2013 07:19 PM

                                                                        bagel hut is pretty good, but let there be bagels in port washington is better. :)

                                                                        there are a few good bagel places left in manhattan (including a random one near penn station in the depths of the garment district), but the best are definitely on long island.

                                                                  2. re: lergnom
                                                                    Grubstake69 Jun 19, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                                    Iggy's bagel's toast beautifully. Far more interesting flavor than oversized fake NY bagel's everywhere.

                                                                    If you're looking for the old-fashion NY bagel that was smaller and firmer (and non-existent today) try Iggy's.

                                                                    1. re: Grubstake69
                                                                      gini Jun 19, 2013 06:50 AM

                                                                      I actually think Iggy's is much more of a Montreal-style than a NY style. Not that Montreal bagels don't have their merits, but a NY bagel it is not.

                                                                      1. re: gini
                                                                        StriperGuy Jun 20, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                                        TOTALLY agree, as an NYC boy myself, while a nice piece of bread, New York Style, Iggy's bagels are not.

                                                                      2. re: Grubstake69
                                                                        katzzz Jun 19, 2013 06:51 AM

                                                                        While I adore Iggy's breads, I'm not a fan of their bagels, which are not at all like old- or new-fashioned NYC bagels: they're the right size, but they're too tough and too chewy. Nor are they like the Montreal bagels which Iggy's allegedly is trying to emulate; again, right size, wrong texture.

                                                                        1. re: katzzz
                                                                          deglazer Jun 21, 2013 06:06 AM

                                                                          Just to be clear on Iggy's, according to their website they are not claiming to emulate Montreal-style.They started out trying to do so (presumably without the wood oven) but then developed their own style.


                                                                          1. re: deglazer
                                                                            katzzz Jun 21, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                            Thanks for pointing out the non-Montrealness of Iggy's bagels. Many years ago, before Iggy's started making bagels, I was talking to Mrs. Iggy (a former Montrealer) and she told me they were planning to start making Montreal-style bagels. I always assumed that remained the intention, but clearly, as you point out, it is not. Amazing what you can learn from a web site! But I still don't care for their bagels. Like biting into something created for a teething toddler to chew on for hours.

                                                                            1. re: katzzz
                                                                              Grubstake69 Jun 21, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                                              The trick with Iggy's bagel is a long toast time. More than I would toast a regular bagel. Almost till they're crispy. I love the multi-seeded with cream cheese, and whatever - capers, ripe tomato, salt, cracked pepper.

                                                                              Purists will correctly point out that this is not a true NY bagel, or even Montreal. But it has become my favorite.

                                                                              1. re: Grubstake69
                                                                                Science Chick Jun 21, 2013 10:31 AM

                                                                                That assumes you *like* a toasted bagel, which I do not. Fresh and chewy is best for me....

                                                                                1. re: Science Chick
                                                                                  phatchris Jun 21, 2013 01:46 PM

                                                                                  If its fresh and chewy you should without a doubt check out Newmans in Swampscott.

                                                                              2. re: katzzz
                                                                                deglazer Jun 21, 2013 07:36 PM

                                                                                I actually see plenty of Montrealness, just pointing out what their website says. I think if you lined up all Boston bagels against one of the classics from Montreal, Iggy's would be the closest by far.

                                                                                Wondering if Area 4 has been mentioned? They have a bagel that's soft and bread-y but I still liked it quite a lot.

                                                                            2. re: katzzz
                                                                              Jpan99 Jun 21, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                              Agree about the tough and chewy. I toasted one once and it took me a half hour to eat it and my jaw was sore! Tasty but a whole lot of work to get down. Hmm..maybe you burn off all the calories by the time you get to the end? ;-)

                                                                              1. re: Jpan99
                                                                                bear Jun 23, 2013 12:52 PM

                                                                                My husband picked up some sesame bagels from Iggy's this morning shortly after 7. They were hot, and after a brief toasting they were absolutely delicious. They are loaded with sesame on both the top and the bottom, and the seeds get toasted a bit more which really accentuates the flavors.

                                                                                I have no idea if they are authentic in any tradition, but we love them.

                                                                      3. Luther Jun 14, 2013 03:48 PM

                                                                        Same answer as every other bagel thread, go to Katz in Chelsea, there is no alternative

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Luther
                                                                          itaunas Jun 14, 2013 03:54 PM

                                                                          Definitely agree with Katz and pickup corned beef + chopped liver at Arthurs.

                                                                          I am curious if anyone has tried Brooklyn Water Bagels in Framingham as I have yet to make it out that way. Marketing shtick for sure, but I am still interested in trying it.

                                                                          1. re: itaunas
                                                                            trufflehound Jun 14, 2013 08:21 PM

                                                                            I had a sesame with Miami lox cream cheese. Dense and chewy outside with a nice moist inside. Cream cheese a little fishy.

                                                                        2. r
                                                                          rob44 Jun 14, 2013 03:04 PM

                                                                          Have you tried Ray's New York style bagels? I find them in the
                                                                          frozen food section of my local Shaw's. Combined with
                                                                          Zausner's whipped cream cheese from WF...great way
                                                                          to start the day

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