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5.6
CHI

The Bagel Restaurant & Deli

Perfect For: Lunch

I'm not gonna do, what you all think I'm gonna do, and flip out because Chicago lacks a true quality and traditional Jewish deli. But let's have a little history lesson and talk about something important here.

Jews and delis go together like lamb and tuna fish, so they go together perfectly. Chicago has a deep rooted history with its Jewish population, which has maintained its size over the years both in the city and surrounding suburbs. The problem is, somewhere along the way the art of the Jewish deli was discarded like Rod Blagojevich's political career. Luckily, in this notoriously corrupt city of politics, dead today doesn't mean dead tomorrow, and we keep our hopes up for that traditional deli experience here in the Windy City. But The Bagel isn't going to help resurrect our deli dreams anytime soon.

Everything about The Bagel feels right. It's family run, has an ideal Lakeview location, an extensive traditional menu, and Broadway and movie promos on the walls. The restaurant has even been around in some incarnation for sixty years, so the authenticity is there. But for as much as we wanted The Bagel to be a solid option for our favorite deli breakfasts and sandwiches, the food just doesn't deliver. If you live in the neighborhood, it's a decent place to lean on for that local atmosphere, friendly staff, and feeling like you belong - but that's about it. We'll admit we've only been twice, and because of the size of the menu there are a lot of things we haven't tried. Perhaps some quality dishes are hiding in the depths of those menu pages. We just aren't in a hurry to find out.

Food Rundown

Bagel

We cede the throne to New York when it comes to bagels, but this one was meh even for Chicago standards. Too bread-like.

Matzah Ball Soup

Broth was bland and lacking in flavor. It was at least somewhat salvaged by a good matzah ball, but not enough to overcome its deficiencies.

Corned Beef Sandwich

Good meat and pretty good corned beef sandwich. Fair prices for a solid portion size, and probably the item we enjoyed most.

Deli Denver Omelette

Omelette with salami, tomato, green pepper, and onion. Undercooked eggs and unnecessarily drenched in butter. Salami and vegetables were fine, but they overlooked the easy parts and it was poorly executed.

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