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Backed by talk show maven Larry King, the gimmick here is the water. It's Brooklynized! Signs touting it are everywhere: in the seltzer, sold by the bottle, mixed into the dough. Despite the shtick -- in the rest of the known universe, a water bagel is just a bagel -- the bagels here are good. Better than good. They're thick and chewy, larger than most and with enough daylight in the center to surround a child's eyeglass frame. If you like them dense and intense, these bagels deliver. You chew and chew and chew only to find that eating an entire one of these things is like doing a math problem with your teeth. Here, in a world where Atkins never existed, there are 18 varieties of bagel, which include, in addition to classics like sesame, poppyseed and onion more arcane creations like asiago-Parmesan. The sandwiches are less good, ranging from lackluster (bland egg salad) to dreadful (a soggy pizza melt coated in oily cheese and bits of meat kibble). And God help you if you dare ask for a modification to any of their "signature" sandwiches. Other options, which include wraps, salads and muffins the size of Schwarzenegger's bicep, can be confusing, especially beneath the glow of the constantly changing electronic menu. Fuggedabout it. In fact, forget about almost everything except Brooklyn's bagels -- and their iced coffee. It isn't strong or complex, but it does come with free coffee cubes. That's right: frozen cubes of coffee so your drink won't get watered down. As long as you know how to mix them, the DIY egg cream sodas, made with real U-bet chocolate syrup, are a find. If you don't, the helpful clerks will walk you through the process, but don't expect it to stay professionally frothy. That takes some serious wrist action.
The shmears are solid and the bagels are better than good -- thick, chewy and dense, like doing a math problem with your teeth -- but the real innovations at Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. are the frozen coffee cubes. On a scorching 100-degree day, when your iced coffee demands as much frozen matter as it does liquid, who wants ice cubes made of water diluting your rocket fuel? The iced coffee isn't complex. It doesn't evoke subtle notes of peaberry and smoked cinnamon. It does,... More »
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