"Everything on a bagel" they say at landmark First Avenue bagel shop Ess-a-Bagel, opened in 1976, and its sister Third Avenue location in Midtown Manhattan. Its founders come from Austrian baking stock and know their way around bagels, producing so many hand-rolled versions of this consummate comfort food every day that regulars are accustomed to being mildly assaulted by the baking heat when they enter the door. For a beloved bagel joint, the menu is extensive, offering salad platters, soups, various knishes, side items and a variety of chicken, meat and fish sandwiches - including lox and cream cheese, of course. Among other endearing traits, Ess-a-Bagel is known for its bounteous portions of cream cheese, which The Village Voice
once drooled, "comes in big, gobby layers, oozing out the center." That's the best kind.
"In addition to the hand-rolled bagels, baked daily on the premises and served with a variety of toppings and spreads, there are smoked fish platters, sandwiches and cakes."
- The New York Times The Village Voice
4.4 food rating (very good to excellent)