Best Bagels - 2012
Our theory is this: The best bagels are made the old-fashioned way, meaning yeast-risen, boiled, and baked on wooden planks in an oven with rotating shelves. That's not how it's done at the new-fangled bagel chains, which skip the boiling altogether in favor of a light mist while baking. That process leads to soft, light crusts instead of crisp, bronzed ones. Henry Herzbrun is an old-time bagelmeister. At Bagel Express, which he and wife Maria have owned for more than 20 years, the difference can be gleaned from the first bite. All the basic flavors are here: sesame, poppy, garlic, onion, salt, egg, pumpernickel, everything, and plain — as well as cinnamon-raisin, whole wheat, and eight-grain. Regular or low-fat cream cheese comes in flavors too (chive, vegetable, Nova Scotia salmon, and honey-walnut). Fresh, hand-sliced nova lox is on hand, as are Boar's Head deli sandwiches on bagels, buttery rugelach, and Dr. Brown's sodas. A single bagel is $1.35; a baker's dozen is $11.95. They come with holes in them, but our theory does not.