100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 14, Bialy and Lox from The Hot Bagel Shop

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

In a perfect world, I would live right next door to New York Bagel & Coffee Shop and I could trot over there every time the mood strikes for a perfect bialy and a shmear. But New York Bagel is all the way in Meyerland, and I am all the way in downtown, and the two of us just don't meet as often as I'd like. Luckily, there's something just as good -- and much closer -- to be found at The Hot Bagel Shop in Montrose.

These two bagel joints stand as the only two places I recommend for bagels in the entire city, although the manner in which you get your bagels at each place is wildly different. I actually prefer the counter-only service at The Hot Bagel Shop to the split restaurant/bagel shop thing that New York Bagel has going on. It allows you to get in and out really quickly, although your seating options at The Hot Bagel Shop are quite limited as a result. Just take your bagel to go, like everyone else here does.

My personal favorite at The Hot Bagel Shop is a bialy with lox shmear. A bialy is a Polish version of the bagel, simply missing a hole. In its place is a heap of chopped onion and poppy seeds. Think of it as a less frantic version of an everything bagel -- no garlic, no sesame seeds -- that offers you more spreading surface and sweet, chewy dough thanks to the lack of bagel hole.

The slightly crunchy outer crust of the bialy hides a sweet doughiness inside, which -- when paired with the tangy onions, the tart cream cheese and the hunks of buttery salmon scattered throughout the lox spread -- represents my ideal breakfast bagel, and is as close as I can come to the one I enjoyed at Milk 'N Honey in New York's Diamond District last year.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's
No. 44: Spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano
No. 43: Wings and grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 42: Frito pie at C&D Burger Shoppe
No. 41: Pollo con mole at El Gallo de Jalisco
No. 40: Fried avocado taco at H-Town StrEATs
No. 39: Rigatoni in bolognese sauce at Paulie's
No. 38: Chorizo kolaches at Peña's Donut Heaven
No. 37: Sashimi at Dadami
No. 36: Half-pound burger at benjy's
No. 35: Fried chicken at Haven
No. 34: Whole-fried speckled trout at Liberty Kitchen
No. 33: Moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro
No. 32: Pancakes at Fountain View Cafe
No. 31: Pineapple with chile en polvo at Canino's
No. 30: Fried chicken at Barbecue Inn
No. 29: Dirty Burque at Green Seed Vegan
No. 28: Egusi at Finger Licking Bukateria
No. 27: Brisket and turkey at CorkScrew BBQ
No. 26: Menudo at La Mexicana
No. 25: Shrimp and grits at Shade
No. 24: Kinilaw at Reef
No. 23: Lamb at El Hidalguense
No. 22: Gumbo at Danton's
No. 21: Chicken-fried water buffalo at The Hay Merchant
No. 20: Roasted cauliflower at Roost
No. 19: Truffled egg toast at Dolce Vita
No. 18: 63-degree egg at Brasserie 19
No. 17: Drunken foie gras at Philippe
No. 16: Beet salad at Triniti
No. 15: Yogi thali at Pondicheri



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Location Info

The Hot Bagel Shop

2009 S. Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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5 comments
carrie
carrie

not to be all new yorky, but that does not look like a bialy.  way, way too thick.  a bialy is not simply a bagel without a whole--it is a completely different animal.  doesn't mean i wouldn't eat that, though.

e_sandler
e_sandler

There is a 3rd bagel option if you're willing to drive a little. It's called Bagel Express. It's on Hwy. 6 and Dulles on the border of Sugar Land and Missouri City. I take this stuff seriously and wouldn't lead you astray. 

carrie
carrie

or a bagel without a hole, for that matter.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

 @e_sandler I know you do and I know you wouldn't. It's on my list!

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