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Feb 12, 2014 05:54 AM

Lox & Bagels

I haven't seen any recent threads about the topic - so here's a new one:

Sonsie's Lox & Bagel brunch dish is delicious
Davio's to Go does a pretty solid one, served as a full bagel sandwich

Curious - what unique things make for a great Lox and Bagel? It seems so simple, yet there have been plenty that just leave me nauseous.

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  1. Funny it's one thing I NEVER have out, cause it is never as good as homemade.

    Bagels: Bagels Plus in Acton, MA (or Brueggers in a pinch)

    Lox: from Trader Joe's decent stuff decent price

    Tomato, red onion, capers, Philly cream cheese, black pepper, lemon...

    And a LARGE bloody mary


    10 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      Yeah, I can't imagine ever ordering this out. Even though I'm incredibly lazy, I would just make my own bagel and lox dish.

      I wish I could get to Katz's more often.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        I agree with home tends to be the best!

        Trader Joe's lox is previously frozen, and although the flavor is usually ok I find alot of variability in the texture, which bothers me when it gets a bit mealy. The Costco lox can be ok too, but also I think theirs is previously frozen too :(

        Bagels: Rosenfelds, Newton
        Lox: Fresh sliced from Barry's Deli, Waban

        Now *that's* a good bagel and lox!!!!

        1. re: Science Chick

          Nothing better than fresh sliced lox... the Russian places
          Berezka, Bazaar, Baza will slice lox and have a good assortment of smoked fish.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Can't say it's still done there (but suspect it's still true) but when I worked at the Boston harbor hotel, we made our own lox and smoked salmon....and both were great, for what it's worth

              1. re: StriperGuy

                I was briefly tempted by the lox (or as they have it marked, "salted salmon") at the Allston Bazaar this afternoon, but went with a half-pound of smoked instead. What they had at the deli counter clearly had been hand-sliced -- it had the trademark irregularity of a hand and a knife -- and I assume that if you ask nicely and they're not completely swamped like they were today, they would slice you some fresh.

                I keep meaning to explore that deli counter more thoroughly. They've got all kinds of delicious-looking sausages and smoked fish and pates there.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  Try the smoked butterfish, you won't regret it.

                  1. re: qianning

                    Smoked butterfish is great. Growing up, we knew it as smoked Sablefish.

                    Nobu and other places have used Black Cod as a name.

                    You say potato, I say potahto, In any case, it's great. Rich and buttery flavor.

                    1. re: 9lives

                      hmmm, well now i'm extra confused.
                      Today, Sunday, we tried to do a Bazaar and Barry's Deli comparison of norwegian.

                      I'm glad the architecture was so fantastic on Beacon St heading out from Newton Center (what IS the story on that amazing 5 color paint job on the house w/ carriage house?!!) because when we got to waban, we found Barry's closed on Sundays. oh well.
                      So at the Beacon St Bazaar,i looked for qi's butterfish which i wasn't familiar with. I had no idea the Russians ate so many kinds of smoked fish. Holy Cow. Turbot, sea bass, eel, said butterfish, and c______can't remember. and more. I tasted many of them but the butterfish was the one i really liked- soft, 'buttery', not v salty. Very white in color.

                      Problem is- it's NOT Butterfish. It's Escolar. The package label says Butterfish but the Ingredients say Escolar. Escolar is often mislabelled as butterfish and sometimes sablefish, and many other mistaken names. But only Escolar has the potential to give you very dire diarrhea.
                      It is native to the waters around Australia and . I had a very bad experience w/ escolar 8 yrs ago in Cal. and ended up doing a lot of googling about it, but there is a ton more info about it now on the web. Common wisdom says to eat less than 6 ou.,( and my plan for the pkg i bought-is to try 2 ou on a bagel.)

                      Anyway, Sablefish/ Black cod is a completely different fish
                      that you find alot in the Pacific NW, often smoked.

                      Sorry for going on, but i just wanted to warn CHs who might see it at the Russian stores if/when they go there to buy smoked salmon/lox.
                      Escolar is certainly a rich wonderful unusual flavor, but you should read up on it before buying it.
                      Sometimes it's under the name "butterfish," "oilfish," or "waloo/walu." Sushi restaurants occasionally serve it as "super white tuna" or "king tuna



                      Market Labeling Problems:
                      Escolar can be improperly called butterfish and rudderfish. True butterfish (scatophagus species) have not been associated with symptoms. Rudderfish (Centrolophus niger and Tubbia sp.) contain high levels of oil, but not the same type as escolar fish. Local fish called sablefish or black cod (Anoplopoma fimbria) are also sometimes labeled as butterfish – these fish will not cause escolar-like symptoms. Escolar fish have also been mislabeled as Sea Bass. >

            2. re: StriperGuy

              Shallots are a nice substitution for the red onion, and the tomatoes should ideally be ripe summer tomatoes...

            3. I can't believe I'm admitting to this, but on special occasions we order the scotch cured nova from zabars and have it shipped. it's like $50 for shipping and $50lb, but there's nothing like it.

              a good whipped cream cheese and you're in business.

              5 Replies
              1. re: bostonfoodz

                If you are as crazy as I am (and I like Zabar's); I get my lox from Barney Greengrass or Russ and Daughters.

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  Mmmm….both so excellent! We go to one or the other every time we are in NYC. Never tried ordering off-site though. Not a bad idea!

                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                    cd, you will not likely hear me telling anyone that " they are crazy to go to that much trouble for food" so i completely understand the passion... But when you web order, i'm guessing it's for a large pack, so do you freeze it or just eat nothing but it for awhile?

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      OC, I go to NYC so I buy it directly from Barney Greengrass. Then I head back to Boston. I bought the lox at Zabar's last fall that was also quite acceptable.

                      And unlike Striper, i am willing to sit down and eat it there.

                    2. re: cambridgedoctpr

                      Just last month I got a gift package from Barney Greengrass (the Uncle Milty) that included Eastern Nova and bagels (among other treats). They have incredible bagels and salmon. I will order from them in the future.

                      On a logistical note, it comes with more bagels and salmon than I could possible eat in a week, so I froze the bagels, and divided the salmon into week-sized portions and froze them. There doesn't seem to be an appreciable loss in flavor or texture. However, the smoked whitefish salad needs to be eaten right away.

                  2. Some variations on the classic lox-and-bagel sandwich that have been pleasing me lately:

                    -- Scoop the bagel, then toast it lightly before making your sandwich. Scooping is, of course, an old trick of those trying to eat less bread, but I also find that it improves the balance of the sandwich in that it allows for more emphasis on the salmon and less on the bread. (It also compensates for less-than-stellar bagels.)

                    -- Substitute a toasted english muffin for a bagel. Just a variation on the theme, but a good one. (Hmm, probably would go well with a portuguese muffin too!)

                    -- Substitute a toasted bialy for a bagel. I understand that frozen bialys can be found in some supermarkets in the area. Although picking them up fresh at Kosar's in NYC is wonderful, I'm usually pretty pleased with a frozen one, too.

                    I get my salmon at Costco, which is very good but is not Russ & Daughters. I have not tried any of the hand-cut places in this area.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Blumie

                      Although it's a bit of a hike from Boston whenever I find myself driving down Rte 84 in Vernon, CT I stop at Rein's Deli and get pound of their hand sliced Nova Lox. It's not cheap but IMHO I think it is excellent. Finding really good bagels is more of challenge but Bruegger's will do in a pinch. I like mine with whipped cream cheese, red onion (sliced thinly) and a slice of tomato and freshly ground black pepper. Sunday morning treat with coffee and the New York Times.

                      1. re: RoyRon

                        Also in the long distance (but semi-practical) category: the best-kept secret about PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet is that they have house made hand-sliced smoked salmon. Prices are totally reasonable, though you should expect to wait a while for it (worth it). Picked up a 1/2 lb when I went by last weekend and I've been enjoying it on bagels all week!

                        1. re: morecheesejer

                          Great tip, I hope they still offer it when I'm there in the summer!

                    2. im a fan of a toasted english muffin with a local cream cheese. If not a toasted sesame bagel with thin onion slices and fresh squeezed lemon. oh man now I'm going to have to do a costco run. I can polish off one of those big sheets in a few days. i can live off lox and cream cheese breakfast lunch and dinner

                      1. I either get the Norwegian smoked salmon from Costco or pick up smoked white fish from one of the Russian markets. I wouldn't be surprised to find it's made by ACME, the smoked fish company in Brooklyn.

                        Pair with Iggy's bagels or Katz's, maybe Rosenfeld's. Until recently, I had a big cache of Balsam Bagels from Rochester, NY. Just the best you can get ... but the freezer died a horrible death.

                        If I get something like this out, I expect a more upscale presentation with capers and creme fraiche.