There are some who say that bagels are a site specific food, that only New York bagel bakers can do the round dough justice.
As it happens, as I type this, I am in New York and have a bagel here with me now, a toasted sesame slathered with cream cheese that I got from a bodega on the corner of 2nd Avenue in the East Village.
Amd I mss say, thuhs smmthng abt eetubbg a bgel in Nw Yor.
Excuse me, what? Oh, I said, “And I must say, there’s something about eating a bagel in New York.” And yes, my mother did teach me not to type with my mouth full.
The same people would say it has something to do with the water and that that’s also the reason pizza dough is never the same outside the five boroughs. When it opened in 2010, Via Napoli, the Epcot pizzeria, contended that it was the waters from Naples, Italy, that was key to the proper Neapolitan crust, so it went to the trouble of tanking in water – from Pennsylvania. (Not sure if that practice is ongoing.)
Bruno Zacchini undoubtedly understands the issues of recreating foodstuffs made iconic in New York. He took on pizzas, with critical success, with the 2016 opening of his Pizza Bruno in an area now known as Curry Ford West.
And now he’s tackling bagels with Bagel Bruno, which opened in conjunction with a new Foxtail coffee location in College Park.
To be clear, Zacchini’s bagels are fashioned after those in Montreal, which differ from New York bagels in a few ways. Both are first boiled in the all-important water, but Montreal bagelers sweeten the water, traditionally with honey; Zacchini uses malt syrup so that his bagels may qualify as vegan friendly. Both styles are baked after boiling, Montreal style in wood-burning ovens. (Bagel Bruno as a “stone fire oven.) The Canadian bagels are typically smaller –about half the size of a New Yorker – and with a larger hole.
The rounders at Bagel Bruno don’t appear to be half the size of a New York style but the hole is large enough so the product can be cleverly displayed on dowels behind a glass panel.
Montreal bagels aren’t typically slathered with anything and in fact aren’t usually sliced at all. That isn’t the practice at Bagel Bruno, which offers the bagels plain or with a variety of available toppings, and also as sandwiches.
I ordered the Good Morning, which features an egg and cheese (American cheese, for a bit of irony). The basic sandwich is 6 bucks but I sprang for the $2.50 addition of sausage. I chose a sesame seed bagel for the base, which was toasted and not only sliced but sliced twice, horizontally and then in half.
There was definitely a sweet note but it seemed to be coming more from the seasonings in the sausage than in the bread. It was appropriately denser than the New York style and it made a good sandwich.
I also had a plain bagel with cream cheese. It’s overriding note was salty. Well, not exactly salty but definitely salinic.
I’ll let the New Yorkers and Montrealers (Montrealeons?) argue over authenticity. Orlandoans have for decades bemoaned the paucity of good bagels. You’d think it wouldn’t take an Einstein to figure out there’s a market here. So as Bagel Brunos begin showing up in more Foxtail locations we’ll at least have a more handcrafted option.
Bagel Bruno is at Foxtail Coffee Co., 3405 Edgewater (see? water is even important to the address!) Drive, Orlando. It is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The business does not publish a phone number, so good luck with calling in a large order to pick up.