Founded in 1976, Ess-a-Bagel is as institutional as they come in New York City. Though their bagels are admittedly oversized, many bagel-lovers are devoted to these super-sized carb-bombs. We ventured to the midtown location for lunch, healthy appetite and smoked salmon craving in tow.

What we got was both over-abundant and lacking. The bagel was one of the fattest we’ve ever had, and in sandwich form it was to the point of being unruly. We ordered the classic Nova special: sliced smoke salmon with plain cream cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers (substituted for red onions) on an everything bagel. “Mouthful” would be an understatement; and while we would have loved to pile all the toppings onto the side of the bagel with the seeds, the cream cheese was only on one side, so we felt obliged to eat it sandwich-style.

When founded, Ess-a-bagel was surely ahead of its time: years ahead of the “super-size me” catch-phrase, their bagels embody a paradigm that would come to dominate American dining. But to this day the Ess-a-Bagel feels steroidal: dense, chewy, and overly filling. The salmon was absolutely delicious, but we argue in principle that a bagel is more about the quality of its carbs than about the sum of its parts.

All told, on a scale of 1 to 10, we would give the Ess-a-Bagel experience a 6.5.




When in midtown:

831 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-980-1010
Fax: 212-980-4315


Mon-Fri: 6am-9pm
Sat-Sun: 6am-5pm