Your First Look at Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish

There is good news for those still in mourning over the loss of Vic’s and Times Square Bagels. Zucker’s Bagels opened last week just outside Grand Central. This is the new location of a Tribeca favorite and it’s owned by the bagel royalty behind Leo’s and Murray’s.

I’m a fan of the downtown location, so I stopped by this week to check out the scene. The bagels are made on premises (with a window for early-morning patrons to view the boiling, a la Ess-a-Bagel). Sandwiches and schmears are available for take out or to enjoy in the long seating area. There was a parade of managers and employees welcoming everybody into the shop, greeting people and answering questions. I can’t imagine this level of service will continue once they’ve been open for a few weeks, but one can hope.
For breakfast, there’s a special of coffee (La Colombe) and bagel with a schmear for $3.75. The bagels themselves will cost you $1.15 each (that’s 15 cents more than the ones at Ess-a-Bagel). At lunch, there’s a wealth of sandwich options.
All the signature sandwiches hover around the ML price limit (most are a little over $10). They come with pickles and cole slaw, but chips or drinks will cost you extra.
The other specialty at Zucker’s is smoked fish. I’m a sucker for bagels and lox, so I decided to have a little breakfast for lunch. The smoked fish is cheaper here than at Ess-a-Bagel, but a sandwich will still cost you over $10 with tax (especially if you want the standard additions of capers, onions, and tomatoes). I skipped the accompaniments to keep the price as low as possible.
It was still a tasty sandwich. The bagel wasn’t warm anymore, but it had a nice chew with a soft interior and lots of salt, garlic, poppy, onion, etc. The salmon was clean and fresh with a very mild brininess. While the portion of salmon was surprisingly generous, I wasn’t too surprised when I was hungry again in an hour or so.
While eating, the manager started chatting to me about his pastrami. Evidently, he used to be in the delicatessen business and this pastrami is from a special purveyor. He says it’s the best (of course he does), so I may have to come back and give that a whirl. That would probably fill me up for the rest of the day.
It’s nice to have legitimate New York bagels and lox a bit closer to central Midtown. Ess-a-Bagel may still be the favorite in the neighborhood (they’re still mine), but Zucker’s is the real deal and is less of a walk for most.
Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish, 370 Lexington Avenue (btw 41st and 40th Street), (212) 661-1080


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    If I am remembering correctly, their downtown location has a pastrami lox (lox with the pastrami seasoning on the outside). I have never tried it but it looked really good. If this is the same quality as their downtown location (which I assume), I highly recommend this place.

  • This place looks nice and the pictures are tantalizing. Nice that they include a pickle & slaw – a nice courtesy. I love Ess-a-Bagels to death but their 51st and 3rd store always smells like roach spray and the staff look borderline homeless.

  • Had a bagel from there this morning during end of morning rush hour. Order at one end then walk over to the other side to pay. You can see the various cream cheeses they have and were pretty efficient. The everything bagel was just right: slight hard exterior and soft interior with the right amount of everything on it. The cream cheese was liberally spread. Clean location and one I can see people will go and hang out while eating their breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

  • Some observations on my 3 visits there so far since they’ve opened last week.

    I hold all reviews up against Flatlands Bagels (think the owners moved to Nostrand Ave a while back) and the Kosher Bagel Hole on Ave. J, both in Brooklyn. Union Turnpike bagels were damn good too, but I’ll stick to the topic.

    The first day i tried them, which was the day they opened, the bagel looked perfect and had the right balance of crust, size and texture. Only issue was that the bread kinda tasted like soap. Being able to look past that, I still thought they had promise.

    The next time which was last Friday, the bagel was quite a bit larger and the soap taste was gone, but it was clearly more sweetened. Totally unnecessary from a plain bagel.

    Went there again today and while it wasn’t as sweet, I’d say there was a slight improvement so it looks like they may still be refining things a bit, or I’m just nuts and my taste buds were influenced by the free Starbucks Blonde roast I had gotten from the mobile cart on 40th near Broadway.

    • I grew up in Mill Basin and fondly remember Flatlands Bagels near the old South Shore High School. I had a bagel from the Zuckers location in Chelsea and found it to be a little on the sweet side. The inconsistencies in taste and texture you describe can be a problem for Zuckers. How long have they been around? I think I will stick with Ess-A-Bagel who have been around for decades with bagels that taste and look the same between the 2 stores.

  • I went here this morning for breakfast after reading this review (and in search of a new go-to bagel place on my way to work after Vic’s sadly closed). I ordered one of their wheat everything “flatz” with eggs and turkey bacon. The flat was pretty good, not great, but good. I agree with the previous reviews that they’re a little on the sweet side. The flat was nice and soft (even though it was lightly toasted) which was a plus because sometimes when ordering flagels or flat bagels they tend to run the risk of being hard. I liked that the seeds, salt, etc. were on both sides of the bagel and not just the top. My only complaint is that it was really small for the money. I figured it would be normal bagel sized but flat, like most flat bagels, but this seemed considerably smaller than their regular bagels. For reference, if you’ve ever been to Vic’s and ordered a flagel there, it’s about half the size of a Vic’s flagel (or now, come to think of it, it’s roughly the size of an english muffin). The whole sandwich with 1 scrambled egg and turkey bacon cost $5. It wasn’t bad by any means and I’d go back again, but I wouldn’t say it was worth what I paid. I’ll stick to a regular bagel with cream cheese the next time because that seemed to be worth the price.

  • I just tried these guys’ pastrami sandwich and it was great. Probably the best in Midtown, depending on whether Second Ave. Deli is w/in the boundary or not. Hot, juicy, moist, salty, piled pretty high on a bagel or bread. This sandwich was a winner. I hope they make it — the employees were very nice and helpful but the lunch business was fairly slow.

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