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If There’s Another Perk Of Jury Duty In New York City, It Might Be Zucker’s Bagels

March 14, 2011

Walking into Zucker's...

I was running late to get to jury duty the other day and hopped out of the subway at Chambers Street, set for the significant hoof across town to Center Street. But something in my foodie brain was ringing – I seemed to recall there was some good grub on Chambers. A quick look near the subway exit along West Broadway revealed Zucker’s.

Sweet little seating area... .

Zucker’s looked to be essentially a downtown variation of the most excellent Murray’s Sturgeon shop, which I absolutely adore. It sells smoked fish, bagels and (importantly) bialys. Jewish soul food. As you can see, the small seating area is cozy and looks like a great place to sip a cup of coffee, read the paper, nosh on some food and generally ease into your day. Does anybody get to do that anymore? If I lived downtown, probably I’d move in to this place.

Some of products behind the counter at Zucker's.

I stepped up to the counter and ordered a nova and scallion cream cheese on a bialy. I mean, come on: going to jury duty and getting to fress on some of my favorite food ever? That’s a big win.

The sandwich.

So how was it? After all, not all places get fresh nova, it can sometimes be less delicious than others. Well, I am pleased to report that it was in fact lovely. There are some criticisms, though.

Nice, thick slices of nova.

So the nova itself seemed delightfully fresh and had the appropriate salty zest. It was not stringy or “tough,” as nova can sometimes turn. It gave easily to to a bite and melted away smoothly. The pieces themselves weren’t wafer thin, as they could be, so they had enough texture to give the salty smoked flavor a chance to shine through.

The scallion cream cheese needed a little bit of work. The scallions, which add a key component of flavor to the sandwich, seemed barely noticeable in the creamy spread. There was enough of them though for one piece to get stuck in my teeth, but mostly it was just cream cheese. Scallions add a strong, pungent earthy note that plays beautifully off the thick cream and the salty, smoky richness of the nova. Perhaps I am just used to the stuff from Murray’s, but this scallion cream cheese wasn’t quite as good to me.

Note the size.

The biggest grouses I had with the sandwich though, are these: first of all, there was a moment of pilot error. I ordered it on a bialy and got it on a bialy, but what I really wanted was a toasted bialy. The gentlemen behind the counter didn’t offer to toast it so my slip-up went unnoticed until I got the sandwich.

The far bigger complaint though is tied to the price. The sandwich rang up at $10, and the whole thing was $12 with a small bottle of water. I do not mind at all paying a premium for this sort of food and this type of sandwich. But when I’ve done so elsewhere (Murray’s, Barney Greengrass to name some places), it seems to me I got a little more food than I did here.

So it is expensive.

That said, I was delighted by the lingering salty zest for the remainder of the morning, and counted myself lucky to have had such a lovely meal on the way to jury duty. As I mentioned, the place seems terrific, and I am sure I would make extensive use of it if I lived downtown.

Zucker’s Bagels

146 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
212.608.5844
www.zuckersbagels.com
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