L at First Ave.
Though bagels are as essential to life in New York as coffee, not every neighborhood is blessed with a bagel shop. But First Avenue between 13th and 21st Streets, the city's anti-restaurant row, has more than its share: the always packed Ess-A-Bagel, the kosher dairy La Bagel, and two David Bagels. The freshly baked bagels at the latter duo rival the best in town; they've got chewy exteriors with tender, dense interiors and they come in standard flavors only—poppy, sesame, pumpernickel, onion, rye whole wheat, salt, everything, egg, and raisin. (You won't see any weirdo blueberry crunch or chocolate chip varieties on the premises.) The surroundings, however, leave much to be desired as do the cream cheeses, smoked fish, and cold cuts which tend to be sparsely arranged. To compensate perhaps, David Bagels also makes hot breakfasts to stay or to go: hot egg sandwiches, grilled cheese, omelets and that all important cup of coffee.