single serving: breakfast bagel sandwich shorty goldstein's in fidi
I rolled out of my appointment in the Financial District sooner than expected, leaving me time to grab a quick morning bite that is out of the "home zone then to work" area I'd been eating my way through. The trick was to figure out where to go. Standing on the corner of Montgomery and Bush, trying not to look like a lost tourist, I fumbled places through my brain from when I used to work down here. Then out of some hazy fog, bagels popped into my head. From there that lead me to, oh yeah, Shorty Goldstein's. I'd walked past it a number of times but never went in to try it, so why not now?
Unlike a fair number of displaced East Coast folks in this town, I'm not a bagel snob and think the only bagel is a NY bagel. For me good baking is good baking whether it be a bagel, croissant or biscuit. If someone knows how to make it properly it doesn't matter what region of the country you get it in. I figured a guy who worked his way up through the food ranks then opened his own spot with family recipes and named it after his grandmother, probably knows a thing or two about bagels.
They have a small breakfast menu, but I decided to go all in with the egg, white cheddar and pastrami bagel sandwich. You get your choice of bagel flavors and I went with onion thinking it would compliment the fillings. This ran me $8.50 plus tax so $9 something. Sigh, here's hoping.
These are made to order, and while that may take a few extra minutes, you do get a hot freshly toasted, melty cheesy sandwich. It's more like a scramble on a bagel as opposed to a layered sandwich kind of thing. Right off the bat, it is not the biggest of bagel sandwiches. I'll say it veers from middle to smaller size on the scale of recent things I've tried. Probably closer to English muffin size. The pastrami is the main flavor profile here. It's in little chunks and the flavor of this one reminded me of somewhere between baloney and a hot dog. I think it's the whole smoked beef with spices thing which gives it the flavor that's coming through for me. Not bad though, kind of reminded me of the fried baloney sandwiches I had as kid.
The bagel was nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy and doughy inside. Whether that is something one looks for in a bagel, or not, I can't tell you, but it worked for me. And by itself, you can taste the onion in the bagel. All together, it did get a little lost. There isn't any kind of spread or even butter(!) on the bagel, which did make it seem a little dry. The tables had a nice spicy brown mustard I used to kick up the flavor a bit. Maybe if the pastrami had been cooked slices instead of small chunks, the grease from them might have seeped into the bread to help, who knows. The other two ingredients here kind of stay in the background. White cheddar to me has always been one of those innocuous, safe cheeses you can use in dishes and most people will be okay with it. Can't say it really adds much flavor, but here you do get enough at least to add some gooeyness. As for the egg, it was an egg, it was scrambled. I would have liked it cooked just a bit longer though.
Was it a good breakfast bagel? Yeah, for the most part, it was fine. Hot, cheesy and bready, it hit the spot on this particular early morning jaunt. At $9 a pop, would I seek it out again? I think, where I'm concerned, we all know the answer to that. But if you'd like to try for yourself, they are on Sutter, just off Montgomery. You can compare to the other bagel places in town and argue amongst yourselves their authenticity. If you want to have a biscuit discussion, then give me a call.