Restaurant Review: Make Baby's Bagels Your Bae | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly

Restaurant Review: Make Baby's Bagels Your Bae 

How Baby's Bagels is making the rounds in Downtown SLC.

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I don't know if I'm feeling spring in the air or just developing a mild case of insomnia, but I've been getting up a bit earlier than usual recently. Since food is usually on my mind in these wee hours of the morning, I've been scoping out the places that are usually closed by the time I start thinking about what restaurants I could potentially visit. It's given me plenty of time to check out Baby's Bagels, a buzzworthy bagel bakery that has been making waves among the breakfast and coffee crowd.

My formative dining experiences were fairly devoid of bagelry. Occasionally we'd get the bags of bagels they sell at the grocery store, and I've been to plenty of professional events catered by the folks at Einstein Bagels, but that's about it. Perhaps this lack of experience is what got me excited about Baby's Bagels. I know enough about this chewy treat and its surprisingly dramatic culinary history to understand its cultural significance, but I was happy to take a moment and dig into the factors that have made the bagel endure over the years.

Baby's Bagels has a standard menu of plain, sesame, poppyseed and everything bagels, though they have been known to throw out a few surprises now and then. I actually liked the fact that they didn't have any sweet bagels; if I wanted that, I would have gone to a doughnut shop, thank you very much. They also have a fridge full of homemade shmears. During my visit, they even had some muhammara, a Middle Eastern spread made with smoky red pepper and chopped nuts, ($8) that I picked up for later.

I decided to go all in for my order, so I went with the lox bagel sandwich ($14) on an everything bagel. This classic combo has a heritage all its own, so I was excited to see Baby's take on the dish. Upon arrival, I could see that every crucial, colorful element was well-placed–this open-faced bagel sandwich is stacked high enough with smoked salmon, red onion, capers and dill that the latter's green sprigs tickle your nose with each bite.

When you look at an everything bagel with lox and shmear, it's easy to be intimidated by all those big flavor personalities assembled together. This combo is pretty easy to screw up, but damn if this wasn't the most delightful bagel experience that I've had in recent memory. Even with an everything bagel—which can be a bit of a risk to the dish as a whole, depending on how much of everything gets on that bagel—this was incredibly well-balanced. The shemar is tart and creamy, the smoked salmon is fresh and bright, the capers add just the right snap of vinegary acid, the crunchy onions were understated enough to let the other flavors shine, and the fresh dill just wrapped everything up beautifully.

For fans of a diner-style breakfast sandwich, the egg and cheese bagel ($8) is a great way to indulge yourself. For an extra three bucks, you can add bacon or sausage, but either way, this is a solid entry in our local breakfast sando hall of fame. With both sandwiches, I couldn't help but notice how the bagel manages to shine while also being a delivery system of some pretty strong flavors; as a longtime sandwich lover, the rarity of this effect is not lost on me. This is what led me to take a half dozen bagels ($15) home with me for further study.

Referring back to the bagel's staying power, I think the appeal here comes from the unique texture that comes from boiling the dough before it gets baked. A good bagel should capitalize on this unique process to get a chewy texture that has just a bit of crunch. I'm happy to say that Baby's Bagels absolutely nails this. Whether you're munching on one of these right out of the bag or slicing it in half for a dose of shmear or housemade muhammara, these have just the right amount of toothsome chewiness, and they are a joy to eat. The sesame seed and poppy seed bagels get a nice dose of subtle flavors and textures from their toppings—I love how the bagel is completely covered by its toppings, ensuring you get the good stuff on both halves.

All in all, Baby's Bagels mixes all the elements of a great bakery and a great cafe to make something that is unique unto itself. I'll always love a place that offers a welcoming space to enjoy fresh, tasty food, but being able to snag a half dozen or so bagels for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week has major appeal. I went into Baby's Bagels wondering how far one could actually stretch the bagel formula, but this cozy little bakery has helped me see bagels in a new light.

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