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Zagat: Black Seed Brings Hand-Rolled Bagels Back to NYC

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Black Seed Bagel is challenging what's become of the typical New York bagel, bringing a taste of Montreal to the Big Apple. Zagat Editor James Mulcahy filed the following report.

New Yorkers love their bagels, and today we're visiting a new shop that's bringing a taste of Montreal to this favorite food.

Black Seed Bagel is a tiny shop in NoLita from the founders of the popular Mile End Deli. It started because of a contentious thought: the owners felt that doughy staple enjoyed by countless New Yorkers could use improvement.

"The New York bagels are a monstrous size. When you put a smear of cream cheese, you don't even get any cream cheese—it's mostly bagel. I think we've just lost the old-school technique, everything has been mass produced, so the fact that we hand-roll our bagels as opposed to using this machine that—for lack of a better word—just poofs them out, like plop, plop, plop, and they're already shaped," says Dianna Daoheung, Head Baker at Black Seed.

The team looked to Montreal for inspiration. The Canadian city is famous for its distinct bagels, which are smaller and sweeter than those you find in the Big Apple.

"Montreal bagels are more, I want to say, on the spectrum of bread, they're more on the pretzel side as opposed to the bread side. The wood fired aspect is definitely a Montreal thing, and so is the honey, the sweetness of it, is a Montreal thing," Daoheung says.

You can get bagel sandwiches with a number of house-made spreads or cured fish, or grab one hot out of the oven and do what the shop likes to call "rip and dip."

Black Seed isn't just turning out good product, they're showing what's best about the artisanal food movement.

With a little extra thought, care and creativity these makers can turn everyday food items into something fresh.

This bagel is something different, but familiar at the same time. Is it going to replace the New York bagel? Probably not, but it's not trying to. It's something completely new and different, and I can definitely see why there are people are outside on line.

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