Cronut-Like Lines at Black Seed Bagels in New York’s NoLita

On a Saturday afternoon of opening week, the wait for a bagel (“only 6 to a person”) was at least 45 minutes

Black Seed Bagels in New York City | Montreal Bagels

There’s a bit of the sweetness that Montreal bagels are known for particularly at that city’s bagel temples Fairmount Bagel and St-Viateur Bagel. And of course, because there’s less density, there’s considerable more crunch, and a pleasing, much more even ratio of chew to crunch. The seasoning on the everything bagel was consistent and impressive for its crunch and even seasoning. The seeds on the sesame bagel were similarly well-dispersed.

There are several sandwiches, but instead of overstuffed gut-bombs, they’re delicate things put together with beautiful ingredients like paper-thin slices of rainbow radish, and more meticulous attention than the line of people outside waiting would probably wish. The signature sandwich featuring homemade cream cheese, cold-smoked salmon, capers, onions, and tomato was a quality representative of the genre: exterior resistance yielding to a shallow chewiness, an appropriate layering of salmon to give you a bit in each bite without making you feel like you’re biting into overlapping cold layers of fish, juicy tomato and onion crunch, with small bursts of saltiness. You can stand outside and finish each half in three bites.

Which is one thing you’ll want to keep in mind. While you can argue in favor of the smaller size and the textural upgrade over the average New York bagel that this represents, anyone who grew up on the city’s bagels over the past 40 years is going to want more than just one. It’s just not that filling. Which is fine because you’re welcome to order two – you just can’t, at least for now, hook up to many other friends if you draw the short straw for waiting in line, because there has been a limit on buying more than six.

How long will the lines at Black Seed Bagels last? Until the next artisanal bagelry on the horizon opens? (Major Food Group, the folks behind Carbone et al has one in the works). Is it the newest contender to New York City’s longest food lines? Does this indicate an end to cronut mania? Who knows. The staff at Black Seed is going to want to get a little quicker with their shmearing, something that will come with time. They could use a little of the efficiency (if not the rudeness) of longtime bagel stalwart Ess-A-Bagel in the East village. Especially if they plan to turn on the salamander behind the counter to make the pizza bagels and bagel burgers the expediter said with a smile were in the works, “We’ll get there… someday.”

What is certain, is that if the wait stays this way, this throwback isn’t going to be able to become the grab-and-go breakfast food of choice that the classic bagel is. It’s also not the only new line in town. The cat popup just around the corner? More than 100 people long.


Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Read more articles by Arthur, reach him by email, or click here to follow Arthur on Twitter.