Friday, June 17, 2016

Black Seed Chef Specials

Black Seed Bagels recently finished up another spring full of chef collaboration bagel creations, and despite our intentions to try most (or a lot) of them, we kept forgetting and only made it there to get the first one of the set. The same thing happened last year too, when we only made it there to try the squid ink bagel sandwich through their Mission Chinese collaboration (although we never got around to writing about it). We liked that one, so we were pretty excited for the new ones this year as they all sounded so good.

The first bagel special this year was designed by Chef Sara Jenkins from Porchetta. It was supposed to be a za'atar bagel with labne (strained yogurt), turnips, cucumbers, radishes, and mint. We headed down to the East Village shop (our first time at that location) at the end of a food crawl since the special was supposed to be available all day. Unfortunately for us, when we got there and ordered it, they let us know they were out of mint, but offered to substitute parsley and dill. Even though that wouldn't be exactly as designed, we went with that, since we thought it would still be good, and then we could still try everything else. What we got looked nothing like what we had seen on Black Seed's own Instagram though.

M's review: This bagel sandwich was supposed to be Turkish-inspired and it sounded so fresh and clean, full of yogurt and refreshing vegetables. What we got was heavy on the creamy yogurt, missing a vegetable (A and I disagreed at the time on whether it was the turnip or the radish, but it was the pretty pink colored one from the Black Seed picture), and generally nothing special. Would it have been better if we had been able to get it with mint? Probably, but the dill wasn't a bad match for flavors like that, and I'm not sure that was really the issue. (Despite agreeing to parsley and dill, we found no parsley.) It was fine to eat, but mostly disappointing because of what we were expecting to get. Had they told us they were also missing vegetables in addition to mint, we probably would have just gone back another time or gotten something else. In the end, it just felt like what we got was nothing like what it was supposed to be, and like we had wasted our time since we went specifically to try that. Maybe we hit the East Village location on a bad day, but the Nolita one seemed better run from what we remembered. It was a little disappointing, especially since in the end, this was the only special we actually got this year.

A's review: I'm not really sure where to start with this. Of all of the collaboration bagels that Black Seed had announced, this was one of the ones we definitely wanted to try. We're both fans of Turkish food and flavors, but this was a complete disappointment which had nothing to do with the planned bagel. We arrived later in the day, and when we asked if they still had the collaboration bagel they said yes. However, they did note that they had run out of mint but could substitute in dill and parsley to try and mimic the flavor as best as possible. We thought that sounded okay so we paid and started waiting. After getting the bagel, we noticed that so many of the other ingredients were also missing, and they never even bothered to let us know. Had we known about all of the missing ingredients we would have just said no. In the end, the combo they put together didn't really work. The labne was supposed to be paired with mint, but since they had run out they subbed in dill and parsley (supposedly). The dill was okay, but even after saying they would sub in parsley, they forgot the parsley. Also, the other missing ingredients just made the bagel seem bland and empty. In the end, the flavors just didn't shine through together, and all of the missing ingredients or subbed ingredients just made the whole thing seem like a mish-mosh of flavors instead of the composed combination it was meant to be. Complete disappointment.

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