Taste Test Tuesday: Westchester's Best Everything Bagel
Our editors carb binge to find the county’s best everything bagel.
Photography by Nicholas Gallinelli
Some Tuesdays, Westchester Mag's editorial team taste tests and ranks some of the county's popular foods—Taste Test Tuesday is the result of their strenuous endeavor.
Last Tuesday, we braved a nor'easter to pick up and then blindly taste test everything bagels from 14 of Westchester’s most revered bagel shops.
Along the way, we were repeatedly extorted with no-cards-accepted, but-we-have-an-ATM-in-back fees at counters (one editor paid for her batch in small coins). We lost loafers in raging streams of runoff on sloping Sound Shore streets. We (there were 11 of us) braved carbs and garlic and onion and large, hearty chunks of salt. And we undoubtedly offended the sales, marketing, and production staff in our building with poppy seed-studded smiles and teeth beset with yellowish, disintegrating pieces of bread. (Sorry.) We sat at our desks for hours in a carbohydrate-induced coma, dreaming of what it feels like to eat a normal lunch, with protein… or greens.
And as if our judgment wasn’t already suspect for engaging in said activities in the first place, we went back for seconds once the carb-fog subsided, piling tuna salad and cream cheese and whatever we could find on the bottoms (we tested only the top halves) of our favorites. It was a vicious cycle of gluttony and bliss followed by shame and regret.
But Westchester, we’re sorry to say, we’re not entirely sure it was worth it. Granted, there were a few standouts, and we feel confident about our winner, but many of the bagels just didn't impress us, and left us wondering whether the close proximity we share to NYC meant anything in this arena. Are we 30 miles away or 300?
In your defense, bagels, it's not easy to blindly taste test 14 everything bagels, all of which were completely un-doctored: no cream cheese, no toaster, no butter, no nothin'. So maybe our dissatisfaction was a function of bread fatigue more than anything, because our hard-liner approach without condiments is inevitably less enjoyable than the alternative. But it's what we had to do for you, readers, to keep it honest.
If you’ve been paying attention to our taste tests (like those we did with donuts, store-bought vanilla ice cream, and buffalo wings), you know the drill by now. It was blind, and each editor was to rate bagels on a score from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) in three “essential” categories: taste, texture, and coating.
Third Place: Enrico’s, Hartsdale
Enrico’s, you wooed us again. We rated Enrico’s the best jelly donut in Westchester back in June’s Donut Derby.
This time it was the great texture and a hand-kneaded, almost pretzel-y appearance that won us over. Digital Editor Nicholas Gallinelli was smitten from first sight, calling them “perfectly salty, great looking, perfectly coated, and chewy.” Assistant Editor Scott Simone raved that the taste was great and balanced, with “hints of salt, poppy, and onion in every bite.”
However, the reviews went downhill for some samplers who, evidently, got gypped on coating. Articles Editor Marisa LaScala said her sample had “barely any” and “the inside tasted like something that wasn’t a bagel.” But Copy Editor Aimee Hirsch’s comments were more indicative of the overall sentiment here: “Coating is inconsistent but flavor is top-notch.”
Second Place: Bagels-on-Hudson, Croton-on-Hudson
Bagels-on-Hudson gets the nod for the most distinct bagel in the batch. Theirs were doughy in a way that no others were—in a chewy, sticky, “almost damp” (according to Gallinelli), not-sure-if-these-are-cooked-but-I-don’t-care sort of way. The exterior was chewy, too, but in a more substantial, hardened way.
Now, not everyone bought into Bagel-on-Hudson’s take on the bagel. Editorial Extern Suzanne called it “everything bagel chewing gum, way too sweet and chewy—pretty awful, sorry.” Ouch. (She backed up her gum claim by jamming her thumb into the bread, then letting it dangle upside down from her finger. It hung there as if it were glued.)
Most felt the opposite though. Senior Editor John Turiano said they had the “best chew.” Features Editor Amy Partridge raved, “SO unique! Love the honey/whole wheat-ish flavor. Nice texture, though the dough kept sticking to my teeth. Tastes very fresh, too.”
First Place: Bagelicious, Thornwood
Bagelicious takes the “everything” name very seriously. They piled everything onto this bagel, and then some—including a healthy dose of salt, which bode well among our testers. But seriously, check out the picture above—they were thoroughly, thoroughly coated. Not a peek of plain skin. And the coating score reflected this, blowing everyone else out of the water at 47.5 points.
And not only was there a ton of coating, but they must have some secret to ensure that everything stuck to the bagel. It was caked on. LaScala commented that it was “very dense, which is good,” and Gallinelli said the bagel had “lots of delicious sprinkles” and that the coating was “salty” and “sticks to itself.”
Scott Simone found the saltiness a bit overpowering, but said that overall the bagel had a great taste. And that about sums it up. This everything was everything an everything should be.
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Scarsdale Bagels (52 Garth Rd, Scarsdale 914-725-0090)
JV Hot Bagels II (1426 E Main St, Shrub Oak 914-526-8052)
Hand-Rolled Bagels (17 Purdy Ave, Rye 914-967-4322)
Sunshine Bagels (717 Saw Mill River Rd, Ardsley 914-674-6417)
Bagel Emporium (211 Irving Ave, Port Chester 914-937-5252); not pictured.
Enrico’s Pastry Shop (200 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale 914-723-0340)
Delibagel Café (238 S Highland Ave, Ossining 914-800-9200)
Village Square Bagels (1262 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont 914-834-6969)
Harrison Bagels & More (261 Halstead Ave, Harrison 914-777-2115); not pictured.
Lenny’s Bagels (172 South Ridge St, Rye Brook 914-939-1379); not pictured.
Bagelicious (1026 Broadway, Thornwood 914-239-8448)
Bagels-on-Hudson (171 South Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson 914-271-5412)
What a Bagel Café (476 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 914-948-1010)
H&R Bialy (41 Quaker Ridge Rd, New Rochelle 914-576-1411)