Everyone’s been there. You’re having an innocent conversation over yeasted, ring-shaped hunks of bread when someone inevitably asks the question: “So, how does it compare to a New York bagel?”
We never really know how to answer, because even though we’ve had plenty of good bagels in NYC, we’re not really sure what turns a New York bagel into A New York Bagel (it’s not the water, no matter what your uncle in Brooklyn says). And unless they’re either a chemist or a chef - or both - the person asking you the question certainly doesn’t know, either.
So we’re not going to compare Maury’s to a New York bagel, because we don’t care how it stands up to some New Yorker’s favorite Tompkins Square sesame-lox whatever. All we know is this Silver Lake spot bakes damn good bagels, smears them with just the right amount of cream cheese, loads them with excellent smoked fish, and breaks a few rules in the process.
Located on a residential street in Silver Lake you probably don’t know exists unless you live on it, Maury’s is a tiny, predominantly takeout spot. The menu here is limited - usually seven different sandwich and open-faced options, most of them involving fish. But, just like how Quentin Tarantino says he’s only going to make ten movies, we don’t mind the limited quantity when the quality is so high. The bagels are soft and chewy, but not so springy that you’re going to sprain your jaw - they still crunch a bit when you bite into them. The Everything and the garlic bagels are our favorites, but you can’t really go wrong with any of them... and no matter which you order, it’ll still be warm when it’s handed over. Maury’s doesn’t toast their bagels (unless you ask for it), they just churn them out at an incredible pace.
And though the bagels are great, the real star of the show is the fantastic fish. The sable is among our favorites - the buttery black cod is perfect with cream cheese, and offset by the pickled red onions and tomatoes - and the kippered salmon is also excellent. And they have a special that is almost undoubtedly the most expensive bagel in Los Angeles - The Mori, which is $22 and piled high with lox, dill, cucumber, and wasabi tobiko (flying fish roe). A bagel that costs this much might seem like a gimmick, but this is a distinctly great breakfast dish, and we highly recommend getting it at least once.
Two sandwiches stand out above the rest, though. The traditional Lox - salt-cured salmon with capers, red onion, and cream cheese - is salty, simple, and satisfying. Much less traditional (but still very simple) is the Labneh, with tomatoes, cucumbers, and earthy za’atar. The tangy labneh and sweet tomatoes make it something we’d eat three times a week, and for $8, we could probably justify doing so.
New Yorkers do a lot of things well, like taking public transportation and learning to live in tiny spaces. They make pretty good bagels, too. It just doesn’t matter, because we live in Los Angeles - and we’ve got Maury’s.
The deli classic is our favorite thing here. The cured salmon is saltier than the ocean, and more beautiful than open sea.
Smoked black cod sounds like something you’d order for $68 at a restaurant you only go to when your boss is paying. But you can get it at Maury’s anytime you want, and it’s probably better than the $68 version.
We’re not going to tell you to spend $22 on a bagel. But if this special is available, and you feel like balling out a bit, get The Mori. The price will seem downright reasonable once you taste the lox and wasabi tobiko on top.
This open-faced bagel is incredibly simple - and pretty incredible in general. Make it your first move here if you don’t feel like smoked fish.
This hot-smoked fish is smokier and moister than any of the others, and we love it as an open-face sandwich, because you get a little extra fish taste.
We’ll never know why avocado and cream cheese go so well together - they’re so similar, we’d think it would be too mushy. But this is a great combination.