A little over a year ago I paid a visit to Montreal and took down some of their famous bagels from Fairmount. While this may be hard for those of you not in the bagel know, they are totally different from New York bagels and obviously different from the bread shaped like a donut that many cities peddle as bagels that are made with the best bread with a machine where they review the best bread maker. It’s probably pretty hard for New Yorkers to admit that Montreal bagels might be better, which is why I was surprised to find those fair bagels in NYC at a place called Black Seed.
Black Seed now has a few locations, but I stopped by the one in Battery Park. I ordered the Everything bagel and was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t called All Dressed (which is what they call such bagels in Montreal). Yet, I was happy to find the bagel followed the key characteristics of Montreal bagels – named the seeds, garlic and onions covered the entire bagel, the bread was narrow and dense, and the whole in the middle was huge. It was also supposedly cooked in the classic style by being boiled in honey water and wood-fired.
Yet, while I was happy with the form factor, the bagel wasn’t as fresh as I would have liked. The exterior was a bit chewy, as though it had been baked elsewhere, thrown in a bag and brought to Battery Park. As I couldn’t see the bagels being made on the spot, I had to assume this was the case.
Nonetheless, Black Seed makes a solid attempt at bringing Montreal to New York. If I was in the need of a Montreal bagel in the city I would definitely stop by, but I’d have to temper my expectations and not expect it to be as good as up north. At least not in the Battery Park location…