A bagel sandwich dripping egg yolk and melted cheese is the perfect solution, after a night of drinking. We awoke craving just such a thing, since the night prior we had drank a hearty selection of our Lake Anna cider, wine, and beer stockpile. But since Alexandria’s the land where good bagels come to die (seriously, we can’t even manage to hold onto a Brueggers), our options were limited.
As such, the new Genuine Water Bagels (GWB) is a hero. Not the hero we deserve, but the one that we need. Peculiarly situated in an Italian restaurant, La Trattoria, from 10:00-4:00 daily (excluding Monday), Gregg Linzey operates GWB. Initially a pop-up, the long lines and steady sales have thankfully led to extended hours and offerings. Soon, they’ll start opening at 8 am and the menu will have a full range of breakfast sandwiches.
We arrived craving a real NY style breakfast sandwich, figuring the daily boiled, baked, and hand-rolled bagels would be the perfect vehicle for a fried egg and a slice of American cheese steamed to gooey perfection in an aluminum wrapper. But GWB doesn’t yet do breakfast sandwiches on a regular basis, so Paul settled for plain and Asiago bagels with butter and I had the lox, capers, red onion, and tomato on a salt bagel.
The bagels had a perfect chew and slightly crisp outer crusts. You know it’s a good bagel when your jaw’s tender by the end. Generously coated in cheese, the Asiago proved super flavorful. The salmon, sourced from Ivy City Smokehouse in DC, was fatty and the perfect foil to briny capers and spicy red onion. Like any well-crafted salt bagel, the thick salt layer scratched at the roof of my mouth and the salinity sucked the moisture from my lips.
We overheard that GWB did double duty as a NY style deli and pizza joint, specializing in NY style pizza. Someone may want to work on the name and branding, since there’s no logical expectation that the local bagel cafe would also serve pastrami sandwiches and chicken parm heroes. We decided since it was already almost 11, we’d kill an hour and come back for lunch. You know…for research.
After an impromptu food tour of Old Town’s South Washington Street, we made our way back to Genuine Water Bagels and bought one slice of plain and one of pepperoni. The cheese and gravy tasted a lot like NY, specifically Brooklyn, style pizza we’ve enjoyed and the proportions of sauce to cheese echoed that of famous places like Totonno’s, even though GWB uses regular, rather than fresh, mozzarella.
The one downside was the crust which, while thin, wasn’t particularly pliable. There’s no way a strutting Tony Manero could double-deck this pizza and still manage to stuff it in his maw. The ability to bend and fold the slice is lost at GWB and some of us transplanted East Coasters with NY roots expect that classic NY pizza trait. It’s very possible ordering a full 18 inch pizza would solve this problem, and, in the name of science, we’re willing to test that theory out in future orders.
Overall, Genuine Water Bagels is a great addition to the neighborhood and you can fuggedabout other inferior local bagels, as long as it’s still in town.