Bagel Beef: Village Voice Shreds Schmendricks

Nothing gets San Franciscan's adrenal glands a flutter quite like New Yorkers coming to town to tell us what they think of our food.  And it makes sense—New York is our cool big brother who owns an iPod and can drive.  He dates babes we dream about at night and sneaks smokes behind the shed. He's so cool.

Thankfully, big brother recently stopped being The Coolest Ever to dispense us with his thoughts on our burgeoning bagel business, Schmendricks.  By way of The Village Voice's “Annals of Absurdity” column, some dude named Robert takes on the Mission bagel pop-up (argh) that operates out of Fayes, lamenting the lack of authenticity the company claims so vigorously to have.  He even consults a second (NY native!!) source for verification:

According to the preachy and earnest statement on the Schmendricks website, toasting these bagels is prohibited: “If you're not sure how to properly treat this thing, we'll have to ask you to give it back to us. This is an authentic Brooklyn bagel. That means it was hand-rolled and boiled before it was baked.” Not sure what “Brooklyn bagel” means vis-à-vis New York bagels in general, but the statement goes on to say that plain, sesame, poppy, onion, garlic, and salt are the only authentic bagel flavors, and “even an everything bagel pushes the limits of authenticity.”

Balderdash! I asked Van Dyk (a New York City native) what she thought of Schmendricks pretentious and expensive bagels. Her reply was terse: “Outside is way too tough. Bagel is tiny. It's also a bit yeasty tasting. Very hard to chew through,” suggesting Schmendricks is boiling its bagels much too long (45 seconds to two minutes is plenty).

Well, shit!  While I agree that charging three bucks for a bagel is a bit much, I actually thought their bagels were pretty damn good.  But I guess that's why big brother doesn't bring me along to all the cool parties.

[Village Voice]

Comments (11)

The bagels are decent, but the quote from the website is obnoxious. Pretentious assholery begets more of the same, the circle remains unbroken.

Best bagel I’ve had on the west coast. That being said,at 36 bucks a dozen I don’t see us ever having them again. when investment bankers become bakers prices go up by 300%. That being said,if your some techie with cash,GET THESE BAGELS cause they really do fucking rock.

Whenever I hear pretentious NYC bloviating, be it from some recent transplant or the “Village Voice” (Chain) paper, I refer ‘em tot this concise FU to NYC BS

I actually like NYC just fine, but I get sick of hearing about their fucking pizza and bagels. Fine, whatever. Let’s now compare their burritos (Chipotle anyone) to anything in SF.

bagel dorks

I can deal with pretentious bakers or I can deal with paying $3 for what’s essentially a blob of flour. But not both at the same time.

I wouldn’t know, cuz I sure as fuck ain’t gonna pay that much for a bagel.

Only Schmendricks is authentic enough to win the Schmendricks Award for Authenticity. Because they said so.

What makes a good bagel better? Toasting.

Schmendricks is tasty, but no more a New York style bagel than your average chain. I would pay $3 for an actual New York bagel, and I would pay the regular bagel amount (I dunno, $1.95?) for a Schmendricks bagel. But waiting in line and paying $3 for a Schmendricks bagel turned out to be disappointing.

Schmendricks might aim for New York style bagel, but they have made them smaller, more expensive, and in the case of the everything bagel, not put enough seeds on top by a longshot. Also, the cream cheese is good but also not New York style.

njudah is right, though. The burrito I had in New York (at Burritoville) was by far the worst I’ve ever had.

Very few Native New Yorkers eat burritos - at Chipotle or elsewhere. I’ve never heard of any burrito place in NYC brag about their burritos being better than any California burrito. And - who cares? But - no one can touch a New York bagel (toasted or not) or a New York pizza (pie or slice)!