Golden Girls chic meets retro diner.
That's the best way to describe Baz, the new Chinatown deli and restaurant from former Rubirosa manager Bari Musacchio and Barney Greengrass veteran David Heffernan. It's one of a few new bagel joints sending the city into a state of hole-y rapture.
The bagels are crafted in OG NYC fashion here: The dough's made with malt, hand-rolled in the evenings, rested overnight, boiled, then baked on burlap-covered wood boards in a rotating oven.
"The malt is one of those things you can't pinpoint, but it makes you love a bagel," Musacchio says.
We got a little verklempt over the Pumpernickel Everything ($1.25)--dark, just a tiny bit sour, and sprinkled on both sides with garlic, onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and crunchy pretzel salt. Try it split, schmeared with scallion cream cheese, and piled high with nova lox, a crisp round of onion and a tomato slice in the Baz ($11): a deli dream sandwich.
Seasonal ramp (!) cream cheese is also worth a nosh, as is the superlative egg salad with big chunks of cooked yolks. Even the lemony, cakey black-and-white cookies (from Melita Bakery in Queens) are good here. No, really. They are.
Other new spots where a baker's dozen is worth the dough:
Black Seed Bagels: This joint venture between Mile End Deli and The Smile has gotten so much buzz, you'd think their Montreal-style bagels were encrusted in gold. But they live up to the hype: Baked in a wood-burning oven, the rounds are smallish, chewy and sometimes lightly charred--but in a good way. And, we dig the horseradish cream cheese.
Russ & Daughters Cafe: The new sit-down LES offshoot of the legendary market just opened last week, with plenty of bagels and schmears--and more smoked fish than you can shake a stick at. Check out our full review of the spot, in Tasting Table this Friday.
Stay tuned: Word is former Per Se and Roberta's baker and East River Bread proprietor Melissa Weller is hooking up with the Torrisi guys on a bagel spot coming somewhere, soonish. We're waiting on the hole story.