Scout Notes: Should you ever leave New York (perish the thought), these are the bagels that will ...Should you ever leave New York (perish the thought), these are the bagels that will wake you up at night. Wherever you are, and for whatever reasons you moved away, the memory of Ess-A-Bagel's soft, crusty, hand-rolled specimens will make you question the wisdom of leaving Manhattan. While we're here, let's give thanks that we can have them as often as we'd like, smothered in the city's best spreads, from spectacular plain cream cheese to varieties infused with everything from scallions to strawberries. There are no wrong combinations to be had: the Ess-A-Bagel founders have been practicing their craft since 1976, and every menu item has been honed to perfection.
Bagels, possibly even moreso than the other iconic New York specialties, inspire fierce loyalties and debates as to who makes the best ones. To get a full understanding of the power of Ess-A-Bagel's signature item, consider how beloved they are not just in New York, but across the world. Thanks to dedicated customers here falling in love and taking their affection back to foreign shores, Ess-A-Bagel has diehard fans everywhere; on my most recent visit, the shop was hard at work filling an order of 160,000 bagels for a client in Japan. (Pick up any Japanese guidebook for Manhattan, and you'll find Ess-A-Bagel listed as a must-visit.) If you can't fathom how such a simple baked good could make such an international wave, drop what you're doing and come join the line. You'll leave not only a convert, but a full-on Ess-A-Bagel evangelist.
Mini Bagels, $.75
Egg & Cheese Sandwich, $3.50
Tuna Salad Sandwich, $5.75
Nova Sandwich, $10.75
MondayFriday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
SaturdaySunday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.