The New York Bagel Factory and Cafe: Coral Springs, Florida
Updated: Aug 3
The world is filled with hidden gems. Nestled within the dark black walls of coal, deep within the mines of the Earth, diamonds are forged in the most unlikely of places. This is the only way I can think to sum up my experience at The New York Bagel Factory and Cafe. In fact, this establishment suffers from a multiple personality disorder. Allow me to explain…
The restaurant is Brooklyn for Breakfast and New England at Night. By day the NYBF bakes up fresh New York style bagels and has a breakfast menu that would be perfect for grabbing your breakfast on the go as you would get your baconeggandcheese (yes, in NY that is one word) and coffee and dash onto your morning train to head to work. Only this place is nestled on the corner of a bright strip mall in Coral Springs.They have a wide assortment of sandwiches and other baked goods such as muffins and cookies. My family and I have had breakfast there on multiple occasions, as former NY’ers we vouch for their authenticity. Though I must add this disclaimer, upon entering the restaurant, which is of moderate size with booths perched beneath big bright windows and a few high top tables with bar stools, there is a brick wall (possibly faux) with a list of names of great people born in the great city of Brooklyn, Chris Rock, Jay-Z, Michael Jordan and Barbara Streisand to name a few. I did lobby to get my name added to that wall. It only seemed right.This is the Brooklyn for Breakfast portion of the restaurant.
And now for the hidden gem portion of the story… This would be the “New England at Night”. So this is where my wife and I went to review. We arrived at the BAGEL FACTORY to try their seafood… though this is Florida, a place surrounded by water, I had strong doubts. I had visions of me trapped at home praying to God for forgiveness for eating fish from a place that sells coffee and donuts. In fact, when they handed us the sheet of printer paper with their “specials” of the day in black and white… I was all the more sure, I was about to make a baaaad decision.
My wife hands me the paper and she says she’s going to get the salmon and the pasta and asks me if I’m going to get the grilled salmon… All I thought to myself was… “You can grill canned salmon…?” So I gave her a look of “oh you’re brave, but I’ll pass” So we proceeded to order… The salmon and pasta, a lobster roll and a clam chowder, and a seafood plate called the Fisherman's Platter. There were 2 very gracious and brilliant young ladies working the counter and I asked them what they liked, they suggested the lobster roll and chowder. So I followed their advice.
Allow me to set the stage before I continue, you’ll understand why this matters later... When you enter the restaurant it's a long path from the door to the registers at the back. You walk along a narrow path (along that wall is the Brooklyn Hall of Fame) which opens up to a counter of cash registers. The menu is overhead behind them, with most of the available options. You place your order, lunchroom style, then you find a table and they bring your order to you. They have all sorts of coffees on tap on the rear wall, they have a milk machine and a soda machine. It’s almost a diner feel, but with a much nicer but simpler decor.
As my date and I sat waiting for our food, at the cozy booth, beneath the big windows, we sat there playing footsie and holding hands with each other. For us, it had been our first time alone for weeks. Prior to that my wife's family had come to visit in stages, first her sister and her children, then her nieces from her other sister and lastly her mother. In fact, that same day my wife made a round trip flight to Va. to return her mother back home safely, after a month-long visit. She came straight from the airport to meet me at the Bagel Factory… doesn’t that sound so nice and romantic. But we were just happy to be A.L.O.N.E. No children or family around.
Finally our feast arrived… The Fisherman’s Platter was a giant plate of Fried Clams, Shrimp, Scallops and Atlantic Cod, piled above a mound of hot golden french fries. The Lobster roll was a gorgeous mixture of red hues, pinks and whites. The bun was golden and toasted with pure butter… The Clam Chowder was steaming hot and you could see the potato and clams resting happily in that beautiful bath of cream. My eyes started to close and my mouth began to open slowly in anticipation! And just when I thought I was fully amazed, the salmon and pasta arrived. It was laid out on a beautiful bright blue plate in the shape of a fish. The presentation made it even more appetizing. Along with the stunning salmon was a bed of pasta and a serving of mashed sweet potato. Our table was set.
I first dived into the chowder as it is one of my favorite soups. What impressed me with it was the broth wasn’t overly thick, as can be with some chowders. It was actually surprisingly light and subtle allowing the clams and other ingredients to be bold and not drowned out. Then I advanced on the lobster roll… The roll was completely succulent. It was toasted to a light crisp and cooked in butter that made it absolutely divine. The Lobster inside was so fresh, I thought the claw meat was going to grab my tongue. I can tell you now with no exaggeration that the freshness of the fish will be a recurring theme throughout this review. My wife had started eating the fried clams and shrimps, before I could tell her how fresh the lobster tasted she began telling me how soft the clams were, which for fried food was amazing. Sometimes when you fry fish if you overcook it, it can turn into rubber. This was cooked to perfection! The Alaskan Cod was fried and prepared so well that when I cut into it with the fork, it began to flake and break apart. It was steaming and delicate, you could smell the ocean in it and not the scent of old fish that had been frozen in a freezer for weeks at a time. This prompted my wife and I to look at each other and then the plate of salmon beside us! We both grabbed a fork…
Needless to say the salmon was the highlight of the day. It was prepared to perfection. I can honestly say it was one of the best pieces of fish I’ve had in recent memory. It was exquisite. I am not a fan of heavy handedness when it comes to cooking. Far too many times cooks can overcook and over season fish detracting from its natural taste. But this was truly a harmony of season and skilled cooking ability. The meal was truly an unexpected delight. And just when we thought we were done…
From the kitchen, out comes a plate with a towering piece of decadent bread pudding. It was golden brown and shimmering. It was cascading with cooked berries dripping from the top of this luxurious mountain. The whipped cream on top was slowly melting into streams of cream flowing in and out of the crevices of warm bread, mixing with the deep red berries, creating a purple pond playfully pooling perfectly on the plate. The bread pudding itself was not sweet and almost savory. Which was perfect because the cream and the berries were. So when you mixed them all in one bit it was heaven. It wasn’t an onslaught of saccharine and sweetness, that makes your lips pucker and your brow furl. It was warm and fresh and firm, yet tender and light. It was dense when you scooped it, but it almost floated off your spoon into your mouth with each bite. It was an impeccable end to an impeccable meal. Simply irresistible.
Afterwards, one of the COOs, Jeff, who is also an amazing conversationalist, brought out the chef to meet us. Chef Jose, was a burly man. He had a bald head, he wore his white chef jacket with the sleeves rolled up. His black apron hung from his neck and wrapped around his wide waist. He was like a culinary conquistador standing before us. Jeff ran down Chef Jose’s long list of accomplishments. He had worked in other seafood restaurants that I had been to, where I felt the food was also above par. So it all made sense. This “Bagel place” was employing a real, accomplished, seafood maestro to prepare its fabulous fare. The attention to detail, the freshness of the product and the focus on excellence is visible with each item we were served.
The restaurant itself has the perfect design for a nice breakfast and lunch locale, but is lacking in a date night atmosphere. But if candle lights and table cloth aesthetics are less important than the quality of the cuisine that is being served, then this is a great place to dine. It’s great dining without the price or the stuffiness. Very relaxed and very comfortable. Like I said before, it's a hidden gem. My only hope is that it becomes less hidden and they get overwhelmed with customers and have to open a stand alone seafood restaurant that can accommodate the type of quality food they are preparing for a somewhat similar price point. All in all a wonderful experience.
Written by Kelvin M Bayne
The New York Bagel Factory and Cafe
2554 N. University Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33065