The Bagel Café
Blueberry Bagel with Blueberry Cream Cheese
Griddled (on request) Pecan Roll
Challah French Toast
Rugulah (Blueberry, Apricot Raisin, Raspberry, Lemon Coconut, Apple Cinnamon)
Failing to understand North America’s fascination with the bagel despite repeated attempts ranging from New York to Montreal it was admittedly with little surprise that I’d not heard of The Bagel Café prior to its mention in a conversation about local pastry but with a convenient location and breakfast menu loaded with personal favorites I knew it would not be long before gave Savvas Andrews’ New York styled shop a chance to shine. A part of the local community since 1995, with a bakery plus deli up front and full service kitchen behind, it was just prior to the restaurant’s 7am opening that I arrived and with a small line of regulars already awaiting entry it was not long before we were ushered in – many heading straight for their bagels and pastries to-go while the rest found a seat amidst friendly, if not overly attentive service that often left coffee empty and empty plates to pile. A sizable menu with knishes, latkes, and matzo brei that will warrant a return it was with a bagel that my meal began and opting for a selection sliced and toasted I’ll simply reference my statement above and say that for once “I got it;” a light crunch over supple center pairing light eggy tones with fresh blueberries and only improved by rich housemade cream cheese. Moving from good to better, both the enormous pecan roll as well as eggy house baked challah were beautifully presented after a quick treatment on the buttered griddle and although I’d have preferred to see the French Toast offered with pure maple syrup (even if at an additional charge) this is a small quibble for what may be the best simple or ‘traditional’ French Toast I’ve had in recent memory, particularly with a portion big enough to share. Last but not least, a limited sampling of the baked goods yielded a quintet of toothsome rugulah – all textbook – plus a final surprise I’ve not seen in ages; a rich half-pound slab of traditional Vanilla and Cinnamon Bread Pudding with the day-old Challah soaked in sweet milk overlying a near-savory custard base strewn with raisins, each layer delicious on its own but combining to form something wholly satisfying both cold at the counter and all the more so when warmed up later that evening.