Thursday, March 12, 2009

New York Bagel Cafe - good food in the name of research

Zed and I are hoping to open a Montreal style bagel shop/cafe in the next few years. The business plan is in the works, and part of this means checking out what is already out there. So, last Saturday night we stopped by the New York Bagel Cafe for a bite to eat.

It was freezing on Saturday evening, and for some reason we decided to walk down instead of waiting for the bus. Walking into the Cafe was a cozy, warm retreat after our cold, windy walk. The Cafe is small, but still filled wonderfully to the brim with antiques and lots of rich, dark woods. The server informed us upon arrival that we could select our own seat, so we chose a table by the window... I love watching the snow and wind outside while you're sitting all warm, sipping coffee inside.

Our server brought us menus and a bottle filled with water and I also ordered a cafe au lait and Zed a latte to drink. Food was a choice of about 25 different toppings on their home made bagels (including caviar for $95), or a few other selections that included a veggie burger and vegetarian chili. Zed went for the Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich on a plain bagel ($14) and I went for the veggie burger on a plain bagel ($12).

Our drinks were made in no time by our server and our food arrived soon after. The veggie burger was huge, complete with lots of pickles, onions, sprouts and avocado, and there were some thick potato wedges on the side that smelled (and tasted) fantastic. While I can't say I enjoyed the burger quite as much as the one at High Level Diner or Blue Plate, it was definitely a great, homemade burger and I loved the addition of the avocado on top (the burger itself was made of soy rather than seeds and veggies as the other two I mentioned). Zed's bagel was piled high with thinly sliced meat... this was the first clue that it was pastrami rather than Montreal style meat, and after the first bite this was confirmed. Although it wasn't the real thing, Zed still found it enjoyable with a few of the many condiments that inhabit the Cafe's tables.

The Veggie Burger

Smoked Meat Sandwich

As for the research part... the bagels were good, but they still had the chewy exterior that we plan to make nice and crispy with the aid of a wood burning brick oven (I'm still waiting for a call back from the Bylaw office though for that one...). It was a good bagel, but as the name of the Cafe implies, it was definitely a New York bagel, not a Montreal one. Zed and I are also hoping to either smoke some of our own brisket for a few sandwiches (ie. Beef and Bison), or preferably find a butcher to smoke some for us, so finding out that their sandwich was more pastrami style was also helpful.

We skipped dessert as we had just been for a cupcake prior to our visit, but the list our server reeled off to us sounded good.

We were definitely impressed with the small cafe - the service was friendly, the atmosphere was warm and relaxed, and the food was perfectly enjoyable with a good portion to price ratio.

New York Bagel Cafe
8430 Gateway Boulevard NW

Naming our bagel place - Zed and I have been talking for awhile about what to call the place, and right now we've settled on the "Hot and Seedy Bagel"... any feedback on the name would be greatly appreciated...


Sharon said...

I had a bagel in Montreal when I was there a few years ago and it was great. Your idea sounds like it would fill a needed void in Edmonton. Good luck with your endeavour!

Court said...

I think Hot and Seedy Bagel is cute and funny :-)

Maki said...

Bagels from a wood burning brick oven... oh, that sounds real good.

I think the name is fun but I think the seedy part might conjure up some different ideas too :)

Isabelle said...

Ooh, that's so exciting! I will definitely come to your shop. I love Montreal Bagels. When I lived in Sherbrooke for university I ate them all the time. And having them really crispy would be amazing.

I can't decide how I feel about Hot and Seedy! I guess it might depend on what it looked like etc.

Libarbarian said...

That's exciting news for Montreal bagel fans. Wayne's in Calgary is the only Alberta place that comes close to St. Viateur or Fairmont, with wood oven. I'm not big on "Hot and Seedy" as a name. Go for something that evokes Montreal I'd say. Open up on 124th St and call it Westmount Bagel!

Marianne said...

I'm sure the name "Hot and Seedy" will eventually evolve, but thanks for the feedback.

We will likely offer things other than Montreal bagels (I'm probably going to go to the baking program at NAIT and possibly for further training afterwards... this venture is now a good 3-4 years away), so I don't want to tie us just to that.

Also, we will never be able to re-create the exact taste of the Montreal bagel because as many ingredients as possible will be sourced from Alberta... while we will incorporate the familiarity of the wood-oven baked taste and maltiness, they will be distinctly Edmontonian.

I like the Westmount idea, though... totally traditional. Thanks for the suggestion!

Anonymous said...

I love new york style bagel is my favorite. thanks for sharing.

Bagel Breakfast Menus NY