The good folks at Murray's Bagels will not toast your bagel or bialy. Not even if you say pretty please. I ordered a toasted bialy with scallion cream cheese yesterday morning and got this response: "We don't toast here." Stupidly, thoughtlessly, I still ordered it.
Why was this so stupid and thoughtless? Because I know that unless a real bialy (most bagel bakeries don't make real bialys because they require a different dough and a different baking process) is eaten within minutes, fresh out of the oven it has to be toasted. The untoasted Kossar's bialy was predictably awful: gummy, dry, heavy, downright inedible (which needed to be tweeted).
So what's up with this non-toasting extremism? I understand that a freshly boiled and baked bagel does not need to be toasted to be seriously delicious. But any self-respecting bagelry knows that a bialy needs to be toasted. Determined to get to the bottom of this very important New York food issue, I rang up Murray's Bagels founder Adam Pomerantz. His surprising response, after the jump.
Pomerantz immediately replied, "I completely agree. A bialy has to be toasted, unless it's eaten fresh out of the oven from Kossar's."
So why doesn't Pomerantz just install a toaster?
"The no-toasting thing has created a little mystique at Murray's. Sometimes when I'm at the shop on Sixth Avenue, I'll hear a woman say to her boyfriend, 'Don't embarrass me here by ordering a bagel toasted.' "
He has hedged his toaster bets. At his new bagel shop Leo's, Pomerantz has installed a toaster oven. Sometimes practicality (not to mention serious deliciousness) trumps mystique.