Bagels: Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys

Date: 1/14/2017

Borough: Manhattan

Address: 367 Grand Street

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What we ordered: 

  • Garlic bialy w/ plain cream cheese (would recommend)
  • Whole wheat bagel w/ blueberry cream cheese

Cost (post-tax, pre-tip): $5.00

The scores:

Ratings (1-10) Rob Missy
Taste 7.25 7.25
Presentation 6.5 7
Setting 8 6.5
Value 8.5 8
Overall 7.5 7.25

Ryan comments:

Ryan slept the entire time in her stroller.

Ryan’s Report Card (1-10): 9

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General Comments:

Kossar’s has been a Lower East Side institution since 1936 and are mostly known for their bialys. Bialys are similar to a bagel but are not boiled before being baked, and they’re much flatter and don’t have a hole in the middle but just a little crater for things like garlic, seeds, etc. Since this is in the Bagels category we tried both a bagel and a bialy here…and some babka which will be covered in a separate post.

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The shop itself is fairly small and only has a few stools by the window. The rest of the space has room for a line to form and that’s about it. You can take a number when you enter, but when we were there everyone just formed a line and ignored the number system. They probably use numbers when it’s nuts here but it wasn’t so bad when we came around 11am on a Saturday. They have a big window where you can watch them prep and bake the bialys while you wait for your food:

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They also have a few varieties of lox, several types of cream cheeses, and other additions to the bagels and bialys:

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They have very reasonable prices, with a bagel or bialy priced at $1 plain, $2.25 with plain cream cheese, and $2.75 with specialty cream cheese. This is at least a full dollar less than what you’d typically see. Adding Nova salmon to a bagel is only $6.25 which is also much cheaper than at other bagel spots.

We got a garlic bialy with plain cream cheese. The bialy was chewy and a little thick compared to other bialys we’ve had. There was sufficient cream cheese  here but not an excessive amount.

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We also got a whole wheat bagel with a specialty cream cheese, blueberry flavored. The bagel was medium-sized and had a good bagel to cream cheese ratio…they definitely didn’t skimp on the cream cheese here. The blueberry flavor was great and wasn’t overly sweet or artificial tasting. There were actual whole berries mixed into the cream cheese which was surprising and a nice touch. Melissa thought the bagel had a good texture and chew but it wasn’t a standout bagel.

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Overall we enjoyed Kossar’s as their bialys were a nice departure from a standard NYC bagel. We also got 3 to go and they were good the next day, and even after being frozen and defrosted weeks later. The bagels themselves weren’t anything to write home about but in general it’s worth a visit. As Rob said about our visit, “good feel, good deal.”

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