Friday, June 12, 2009

Bagels - Austin's Cafe

What makes a good bagel? To me, a good bagel should be shiny and crusty on the outside, to ensure that it is baked through. It should be doughy, yeasty and and chewy and should spring back when touched. A good bagel should also be tasty both hot or at room temperature! A bagel should not look like bread and should not have rough texture crust. In all my years, the worst bagels I had are the ones that resemble or taste like a kaiser roll or a round roll, shaped into a bagel. They're just awful, and when presented with one, I just close my eyes and imagine it to be something else, usually when I'm out of town.

It was a sad time last year when, in my opinion, the best bagel shop in Manhattan closed, David's Bagels on 1st Avenue and 14th Street. Their bagels epitomized the best in bagel-making. Now that a year has passed, I'd like to share with you Austin's Cafe, which is located on the corner of Park Avenue and 34th Street. This is not a bagel shop but a deli, selling sandwiches, coffee, salads, danishes and such, but it currently has the best bagels, nearly as good as Davids. I looked around Austin's and didn't see anybody making bagels, so I assume that they get their bagels delivered from somewhere. Anyhow, if you want a bagel that is truly heavenly, try theirs. They are not overdone and everything about it is just in the right amounts. I'd give it a 9 out of 10, with the long gone David's being the perfect standard.

There is another bagel place nearby with a great reputation and where these guys actually make the bagels on the premises which is Daniel's on 37th and 3rd. However, I find their bagels to have a "floury" taste. It tastes as though they are made with a different kind of flour or perhaps yeast that gives their bagels a different taste and aroma. It's not bad, just different.

If you try either, you'll taste the difference. So what is your favorite New York bagel shop? I'd love to know!

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