New Yorkers are proud of their bagels, and it's easy to understand why. Dense, slightly chewy, and pillowy-soft, they're a cut above any other. Less appreciated, however, is the bialy. Somewhere between the size of a bagel and a breakfast roll, it's flat with a dimple in the center (typically filled with onion flakes) and almost as delicious as its doughnut-shaped counterpart, especially when accompanied by the right accoutrements (think cream cheese, lox, onion, tomato).
We recently paid a visit to Kossar's Bagels & Bialys, a recently reopened, 80-year-old bakery on N.Y.C.'s Lower East Side known for their bialys, to find out just how good they can be. Theirs are handmade on-site using only four ingredients—wheat flour, kosher salt, water, and brewer's yeast—and can be topped with an array of schmears (horseradish and pickle, jalapeño and capers, and notably, "everything" cream cheese with poppy seeds). Here's what else you need to know.
What to Eat
The bialy, obviously. Choose between six flavors: onion, garlic, sesame, olive, whole-wheat onion, and sun-dried tomato and pesto. We ordered The Classic, which comes with sliced nova lox, everything cream cheese, tomato, red onion, capers, and dill. It was the right choice.
What to Drink
A cup of their home-brewed coffee. We're fans of the Essex St. Bold blend in particular.
Kossar's is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. We recommend going right when it opens, or close to 10 a.m. on weekdays and circa 12 p.m. on the weekends to avoid the rush.
Kossar's Bagels & Bialys, 367 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002. 212-473-4810; kossars.com.