Our trip to New York got off to a very disturbing start. So after we dropped our bags off at the Hilton, we were ready for a pick me up. In New York, and being half Jewish, there is absolutely no better pick me up than an amazing bagel. I love bagels, heck, if my doctor would let me, I would eat bagels for every meal. So we headed to Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys.
Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys
Kossar’s is the absolute essence of a New York bagel shop. Founded by Jewish immigrants Morris Kosar and Isadore Mirsky in 1936, Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys has been in business for over 80 years. It is the oldest bialy bakery in the United States. While ownership has changed hands over the years, Kossar’s feels it has a responsibility to keep cooking its bagels and bialys in the traditional way. It takes this responsibility so seriously, that it was recognized by New York Times Food Critic Mimi Sheraton as the best Bialy in the entire country.
What is a Bialy?
I am sure you are thinking exactly what I was thinking when I walked in. I know what a bagel is, but what the heck is a bialy. As it turns out a Bagel and a Bialy are extremely similar. A bagel is typically boiled first and then baked, which causes a bagel to be relatively dense. On the other hand, a bialy is never boiled. they go straight to baking it. This results in a chewier dough. A bialy also does not have a hole in the middle, only a depression which is typically filled onions, garlic, or poppy seeds.
Stephanie and I enjoyed Kossar’s so much that we decided to go twice. Once on our first day in New York and Once on our last day. We even decided to take some bagels home to Seattle with us. Kossar’s menu is exactly what it says Bagels and Bialys. They have basically every variety of bagel or bialy you could imagine, and a wide variety of spreads including strawberry, jalapeno, vegetable, and lox cream cheese. They also offer a wide variety of of bagel sandwiches including egg, whitefish, chicken, and salmon salad. The options and combinations that are offered by Kossar’s are limitless. It would take an extremely long time to try everything they have to offer.
On our first visit to Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys I ordered a sesame seed bagel sandwich with eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese.
Stephanie Ordered a plain bagel with lox cream cheese.
on our second visited we ordered a poppy seed bialy with cream cheese.
I was raised on bagels, but I was raised in Texas. Let me tell you, a Texas bagel cannot even come close to an authentic New York Bagel. While I don’t know what makes a New York Bagel different, as I am sure they are all made the same way, but hot damn. These bagels are good. They are dense but still manage to be chewy. They are just a bit crispy on the outside while soft on the inside. I am not sure what to say that can convey how good these bagels are, but if you are a bagel fan you would be a fool not to at least try Kossar’s while in New York. It was literally the best bagel ever. Not only went there twice but we took $10 worth home with us.
Not only were the bagels good, but so were the bialys. I cannot claim to be a bialy expert. I didn’t even know what a bialy was a month and a half ago, but it was good. It is definitely different than a bagel. If you compare the pictures of the two you notice a lot more air pockets in the bialy. A bialy is like a lighter airier version of a bagel, and is really good. While I prefer the heaviness of a bagel. I could see why people may prefer a lighter dough.
Not only is Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys extremely good. It is a cheap. A vast majority of the menu is right around $5. While individual bagels coming in at $1.35 and Bialys at $1.15 it bumps up to around $3.25 if you want cream cheese. The bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich ran me $6.25 which is still a great price for an amazing breakfast. If you want one of their more complex sandwiches you may have to pay upwards of $10, but for me a simple bagel or bagel sandwich is more than enough. Between 1 bagel sandwich, 1 bagel with cream cheese, 1 bialy with cream cheese, and our take home bagels we spend less than $25.
There is something about a new york bagel, and Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys is without a doubt the best bagel I ever tried. If that weren’t enough their prices are extremely reasonable and will not even come close to breaking your food budget.