Today’s news:

Un bagel? Qu’est ce que c’est un bagel?

for The Brooklyn Paper

Talk about chutzpah: a Bulgarian guy thinks he can teach Brooklynites about the bagel — and not even a New York bagel, but a Montreal bagel.

Ignat Kostov is behind the counter at B&B Empire Bistro on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street, cranking out a north-of-the-border delicacy that’s peculiar in these parts.

The key is a touch of honey — and a $100,000, custom-made wood-fired oven that is supposed to give the bagels a smokey char that Canucks swear by.

Local curiosity seekers — and Montreal natives — have been beating a path to Kostov’s door, but the general consensus from Brooklynites and Quebecois is that these bagels need some work (see sidebar).

“Frankly, it’s closer to a New York bagel than to a Montreal bagel,” said Noah Bernamoff, whose Mile End Deli on nearby Hoyt Street began the current Montrealification of Brooklyn. “These aren’t charred enough, flat enough or sweet enough to deserve the Montreal label. They have some work ahead of themselves.”

Bernamoff’s smoked meat — what Montrealers call pastrami — is every bit as good as the New York version. But when it came to his native bagels, he didn’t even try to make them himself.

“I recognized that I did not have the skill or the tools to possibly match the supremacy of the ultimate bagel,” Bernamoff said.

Even without solid Montreal rue cred, Kostov has something more important going for him: location. He’s one of the few bagel stores in the area. And nothing beats a fresh bagel.

B&B Empire Bistro [200 Clinton St. between Atlantic Avenue and State Street, Boerum Hill, (718) 858-6358] is open 6 am to 8 pm.

Updated 4:53 pm, June 15, 2011: Corrects some minor errors, including the cost of the oven.
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Reader Feedback

Frank from Furter says:
I had a bagel there yesterday. It was 1.50 with nothing on it. everything was too expensive. Like the place on Court and State- it will close quickly if it keeps this way. They give 10% off to the hospital employees.

want my suggestion? have an opening week special of 50% off everything get people used to go there and then decrease permanently your prices by 25%....maybe you will get enough volume to stay open and pay your staff...
June 15, 2011, 12:43 pm
gimme from around says:
Furter man just tore 'em a new bagel hole
June 15, 2011, 7:12 pm
Frank from F says:
and the bagel wasn't that good either....IMO. I have had better bagels on Court street....by state or bergen....
June 16, 2011, 12:26 am
Sandy from Bergen Beach says:
Bernaramoffsky's fatty, overly salty, disgustingly smokey meat is NOT as good as the NY version.
June 24, 2011, 9:27 am
Greg from Park Slope says:
Why does everything have to be so fancy, gourmet, etc. A bagel is a bagel. No one does it better than Le Bagel Delight or some other old school place. It's a bagel people. I don't want my the Montreal way, the French way, etc.
June 26, 2011, 7:42 am
Andrew from Bklyn Heights says:
Smoked meat is NOT "what Montrealers call pastrami". If it were, the trip to Canada or Hoyt Street, whichever is nearer, would not be worth it. But after so many stories where you seem to think repeating this error makes it okay, I guess you'll just keep being wrongly informed.
June 27, 2011, 1:05 am

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