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  • Post #31 - April 23rd, 2014, 5:30 pm
    Post #31 - April 23rd, 2014, 5:30 pm Post #31 - April 23rd, 2014, 5:30 pm
    My last few meals and takeout at Max & Benny's have been meh and my toddler refused to eat a bagel and cream cheese from there the other day complaining the cream cheese tasted like fish (it wasn't lox spread, for the record). On the other hand, I feel like Max's in Highland Park has stepped up a notch. The last few times we've eaten there or taken out it seemed the food quality was up a notch and the staff has even improved their game. Just my two cents.
  • Post #32 - April 23rd, 2014, 6:58 pm
    Post #32 - April 23rd, 2014, 6:58 pm Post #32 - April 23rd, 2014, 6:58 pm
    AlexG wrote:My last few meals and takeout at Max & Benny's have been meh and my toddler refused to eat a bagel and cream cheese from there the other day complaining the cream cheese tasted like fish (it wasn't lox spread, for the record). On the other hand, I feel like Max's in Highland Park has stepped up a notch. The last few times we've eaten there or taken out it seemed the food quality was up a notch and the staff has even improved their game. Just my two cents.


    Max & Benny's is no 2nd Ave. Deli (still my gold standard) but it's among the better choices we have. I find that The Bagel is mostly "phoning it in."
  • Post #33 - April 23rd, 2014, 7:25 pm
    Post #33 - April 23rd, 2014, 7:25 pm Post #33 - April 23rd, 2014, 7:25 pm
    spinynorman99 wrote:
    AlexG wrote:My last few meals and takeout at Max & Benny's have been meh and my toddler refused to eat a bagel and cream cheese from there the other day complaining the cream cheese tasted like fish (it wasn't lox spread, for the record). On the other hand, I feel like Max's in Highland Park has stepped up a notch. The last few times we've eaten there or taken out it seemed the food quality was up a notch and the staff has even improved their game. Just my two cents.


    Max & Benny's is no 2nd Ave. Deli (still my gold standard) but it's among the better choices we have. I find that The Bagel is mostly "phoning it in."

    I'm not a fan of M&B's. I've had too many ho-hum meals, sandwiches and platters (from) there. I like Max's better but it's up and down. Their occasional highs are pretty high, though. The Bagel . . . I'm not really a fan. Of the 3, it's the closest to my office and I haven't been there once the past 3 years. For me deli is just one of those things that once you have your bar set, it's hard to willingly go below that. Honestly, the state of deli is so lackluster in town, it's the main reason why I learned how to make pastrami, corned beef and hot dogs from scratch.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #34 - April 23rd, 2014, 8:54 pm
    Post #34 - April 23rd, 2014, 8:54 pm Post #34 - April 23rd, 2014, 8:54 pm
    stevez wrote:Did anyone order the lox, eggs & onion scramble? I view that as The Bagel's signature dish.

    Nope
    "Sandwiches are wonderful. You don't need a spoon or a plate!"
    Paul Lynde
  • Post #35 - April 24th, 2014, 9:34 am
    Post #35 - April 24th, 2014, 9:34 am Post #35 - April 24th, 2014, 9:34 am
    Maybe it's just me, but I don't know a better matzo ball soup than the one at The Bagel.

    (I know different matzo ball soups, which are really good in different ways, such that I would have a hard time picking which is best, but I don't know a better one. Broth and ball in The Bagel's version pretty much attain my Platonic ideal of what matzo ball soup oughta taste like.)

    I've been underwhelmed by some things at The Bagel, but as long as I order from what I think of as their wheelhouse (matzo ball/kreplach soups, nova/sable platter, pastrami, chopped liver, tzimmes, a couple other items) I achieve contentment. I look forward to trying the lox, eggs & onion scramble.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #36 - April 24th, 2014, 3:11 pm
    Post #36 - April 24th, 2014, 3:11 pm Post #36 - April 24th, 2014, 3:11 pm
    And I HATE the matzo ball soup there--weird fake yellow coloring, not a shred of anything in the soup--to me it's not soup, it's broth with a matzo ball in it. Can't stand the stuff. We all have our preferences...
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #37 - April 25th, 2014, 9:12 am
    Post #37 - April 25th, 2014, 9:12 am Post #37 - April 25th, 2014, 9:12 am
    Just after Cabbagehead and I moved to W. Rogers Park many years ago, The Bagel up and left and moved to Lakeview. At the time, we were sad that the last Jewish deli had just left the neighborhood, but in my experience, I think we're not missing much. I have found their food consistently underwhelming (I have only eaten at the Old Orchard branch.) The final time I ate there, I had a tongue sandwich that was a disgrace to the words "tongue," "sandwich," and "deli"--dry, tasteless, slapped together slices of something on less-than-fresh rye. Oy! That was their last chance as far as I was concerned.
  • Post #38 - April 25th, 2014, 9:47 am
    Post #38 - April 25th, 2014, 9:47 am Post #38 - April 25th, 2014, 9:47 am
    I feel a need to jump back in here: The LTH North group left pretty darn happy on Wednesday.
    Aside from a doughy potato pancake and high prices, I very much liked my sandwich: bread was tasty, meats were succulent, service was prompt and efficient (they apologized for the time to deliver the check, but we'd been chatting for some time without a dire need to have it on the table, and kept talking for a while afterward).
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #39 - April 25th, 2014, 10:47 am
    Post #39 - April 25th, 2014, 10:47 am Post #39 - April 25th, 2014, 10:47 am
    JoelF wrote:I feel a need to jump back in here: The LTH North group left pretty darn happy on Wednesday.
    Aside from a doughy potato pancake and high prices, I very much liked my sandwich: bread was tasty, meats were succulent, service was prompt and efficient (they apologized for the time to deliver the check, but we'd been chatting for some time without a dire need to have it on the table, and kept talking for a while afterward).

    Glad you all enjoyed it. I know many people, here and elsewhere, like the place.
  • Post #40 - April 25th, 2014, 11:24 am
    Post #40 - April 25th, 2014, 11:24 am Post #40 - April 25th, 2014, 11:24 am
    My 2 cents on the Bagel. I was part of the Wednesday North lunch group and I really enjoyed my stuffed cabbage rolls though the sauce was a bit too sweet. I agree that the potato pancake was not the finest and prefer lacy edges on them but they were served hot and automatically included both sour cream and applesauce on the side. Usually feel a little greedy when I order potato pancakes and the server asks me "sour cream or apple sauce?" and I reply, "both, please."
    As for their mish mosh chicken soup, which I sampled, it was satisfying and I am a fan of their matzos balls because they have good texture and are fairly light.
    Like many places I have read about here, there are some items that a restaurant does better than others and at The Bagel I tend to stick with a few I have enjoyed consistently.

    As a relative newbie on LTH, I am surprised by the divisiveness in this thread. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that some of the Bagel's comfort food offerings are a different taste than that item experienced in the diner's home and do not evoke the expected memory usually associated with that food.
    Last edited by B2B on April 25th, 2014, 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #41 - April 25th, 2014, 12:11 pm
    Post #41 - April 25th, 2014, 12:11 pm Post #41 - April 25th, 2014, 12:11 pm
    B2B wrote:As a relative newbie on LTH, I am surprised by the divisiveness in this thread. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that some of the Bagel's comfort food offerings are a different taste than that item experienced in the diner's home and do not evoke the expected memory usually associated with that food.


    Has little to do with the taste of home. The Bagel used to be good years ago, but now it's really just diner food - and not very good diner food. It's a place that's resting on reputation (not dissimilar to Manny's, which is a shell of its former self).

    As a slightly different example, Myron & Phil's was a very poor imitation of itself in the years preceding its closing. The food went from great to passable, but not worth my dining dollars.
  • Post #42 - April 25th, 2014, 12:18 pm
    Post #42 - April 25th, 2014, 12:18 pm Post #42 - April 25th, 2014, 12:18 pm
    I've always liked their Fried Matzo. I used to eat at the Devon & Sacramento location all the time and IMO,it was a lot better than the one that is now on Broadway.
  • Post #43 - April 26th, 2014, 10:43 am
    Post #43 - April 26th, 2014, 10:43 am Post #43 - April 26th, 2014, 10:43 am
    The North Lunch Group's reports are well-timed to provide at least some mitigation to the nay-saying. I'll add one more "thing I like" at The Bagel, to augment the things I mentioned in post #35. The challah. I really like The Bagel's challah. Especially dipped into the matzo ball soup broth.

    (The challah is so "absorbent" that I've often been tempted to carry out an experiment, which is to place a whole slice of it in the soup to see just how long it takes for the entire bowl of broth to transfer from bowl to bread before my eyes.)

    I suppose it's de rigueur to acknowledge once again that it is indeed possible to go very wrong when ordering from The Bagel's menu. But (at least in the view of some of us), it is also fairly easy to go right.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #44 - April 26th, 2014, 1:07 pm
    Post #44 - April 26th, 2014, 1:07 pm Post #44 - April 26th, 2014, 1:07 pm
    riddlemay wrote:I suppose it's de rigueur to acknowledge once again that it is indeed possible to go very wrong when ordering from The Bagel's menu. But (at least in the view of some of us), it is also fairly easy to go right.


    Truer words were never spoken. I've been a customer of The Bagel since it was only 1/2 of the good deli choices on the corner of Kedzie & Lawrence. In fact, in those days, my family never thought of The Bagel as a deli as much as a sit down restaurant, with S&L (located kiddie corner) more of the "traditional" deli where meats by the pound was sold. To me, The Bagel has never been about getting a good corned beef sandwich, it's more about getting the prepared dishes and the more "unusual" items not available elsewhere*, not to say I haven't enjoyed my fair share of corned beef and/or brisket sandwiches and chicken soup at the various Bagel locations throughout the years.

    I'll agree with those that say The Bagel is not what it used to be but, as at many LTH favorites, if you order correctly a good meal is there to be had. These days, I pretty much restrict my ordering at The Bagel to breakfast items; either some sort of fish platter or, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, an item simply referred to as "lox, onions & eggs". This item appears in a little box in the margin of the menu as if it were an afterthought (with an option without onions in the other margin). It may be an afterthought on the menu, but it's not an afterthought in the kitchen.

    The Bagel Lox, Onions & Eggs
    Image

    This is a dish that appears on lots of menus around town. It's a Greek diner standard, but only at The Bagel is it prepared to its full potential.

    Image

    Here in a close up, you can see what sets it apart from other versions bearing the same name. The Bagel uses caramelized onions and the eggs are well cooked. Both the lox and the onions are plentiful. This may sound like the antithesis of how scrambled eggs should be prepared, but for this dish, the firmer texture works, and the sweetness of the onions puts it over the top. Sometimes, I request this dish with jalapeños added, and that adds a nice kick.

    I guess what I'm saying is, if you find yourself at The Bagel, order carefully and you can have a great meal. If you want a good corned beef sandwich, go to Edgebrook Diner.


    * Try the Polish or Pickled Fish
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #45 - April 13th, 2017, 12:50 pm
    Post #45 - April 13th, 2017, 12:50 pm Post #45 - April 13th, 2017, 12:50 pm
    Tis the season. And an excellent version it was.
    matzo_brei.jpg Matzo Brei W/Salami & Caramelized Onions
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #46 - September 1st, 2017, 11:34 am
    Post #46 - September 1st, 2017, 11:34 am Post #46 - September 1st, 2017, 11:34 am
    Stopped in at the Bagel in OO for a quick bit the other evening.
    Had Matzo Ball soup and 1/2 pastrami sandwich
    it was like Jewish soul food.
    The matzo ball was the size of a baseball but so light and fluffy and tender.
    It was just like Mamma used to make back when she could cook.
    The pastrami was the perfect temp, with just the right amount of peppery crust and fat.
    MMMMMM
    so good
    I have some pix- but can't quite figure out how to post them- Maybe from home :wink:
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #47 - September 3rd, 2017, 9:14 am
    Post #47 - September 3rd, 2017, 9:14 am Post #47 - September 3rd, 2017, 9:14 am
    irisarbor wrote:The matzo ball was the size of a baseball...

    And of course by that you mean a 16-inch softball. :)

    I share your affection for The Bagel and their matzo ball soup.
    Pithy quote here.

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