Flatiron Lunch: The Whitefish Salad Taste-Off Continues

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

About a month ago, I decided selfishly to use my love of whitefish salad as a means to try different bagel shops in the area. This week, we continue our whitefish salad-crawl by working our way north on both the east and west sides of Flatiron Lunch. Where do FL’ers in the center of the FL zone get bagels?

On the far west side of the FL boundaries, Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company seems like it could be the surprise winner in my ad hoc whitefish salad competition. As a Brooklyn to Manhattan import, they could be under-recognized. But I found the bagel just too heavy and dense without enough bouncy chew. The whitefish salad ($7.45) was also underwhelming with too much mayo and without the right smoked fish flavor.

One of my pet-peeves is under-everythinged everything bagel. What is the point if there is only a small sprinkling of poppy seeds and garlic? But I thought Brooklyn Bagel took the toppings too far, and it was especially noticeable since the garlic was burnt. On the other hand, they sell a bacon scallion cream cheese. I have never seen this before, but considering how amazing bacon is on a bagel with cream cheese, especially scallion cream cheese, this could make everything better.

Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company, 286 8th Avenue btwn 24th St & 25th Streets, (212) 924-2824

In my opinion, Pick a Bagel has always ranked near the top of the second tier of bagel spots. Not one of the best in the city, but a great option if you are nearby. The whitefish salad did not disappoint with huge hunks of whitefish and an incredible smoky flavor. The price was steep at $9 ($9!), but they really piled on the whitefish salad with a massive scoop.

Unlike Brooklyn Bagel, Pick a Bagel had a nice amount of everythings on the outside of the bagel. But I thought the bagel was a little too tough for my liking. I couldn’t help but wonder if the major rain and moisture in the air the day I went made the bagel more dense tasting. Any bagel experts out there want to weigh in?

Pick a Bagel, 297 3rd Avenue btwn 22nd St & 23rd Streets, (212) 686-1414


  • Enough with the white fish salad! That is punishment food! There’s gotta be better stuff in Flatiron than whitefish salad!

  • This reminds me, i should go check out the new Russell and daughters cafe.

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    I think I have tried just about every bagel place in Manhattan. For me, Zucker’s is far and away the best. Daniel’s and Murray’s honorable mention as my next two favorites. Ess-a-Bagel is good but highly over-rated.

  • Zucker’s definitely makes the best whitefish/baked salmon salads if you are in Midtown.

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    Doesn’t Acme Smoked Fish in Brooklyn provide the smoked fish that virtually every bagel place in NYC uses? This is a bit like seeing who has the Boar’s Head deli sandwich.

    • Yes, for those stores that buy it, I’m sure it’s all from Acme. Some places do make their own, however, and based on the pictures above I would say Pick a Bagel is making their own.

  • Whitefish salad: The bagel-spreadable version of generic cole slaw.

  • Two articles about whitefish on a bagel in Flatiron and still not a word about Ess-A-Bagel. At this point, the only possible conclusion is that Midtown Lunch is waging a deliberate vendetta against the greatest bagel store on earth.

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