The much anticipated Eltana Bagels has finally opened on the SW corner of the Prescott Wallingford complex (nee, “The Big Pit”), at 3920 Stone Way N. The bagel purveyor specializes in hand-rolled artisan bagels that are baked in a wood-fired oven, which customers can see right as they walk in the door.
I’ll admit, I was a little worried I wouldn’t like them since I read that Eltana’s bagels were not the traditional NY-style bagels, but closer to Montreal-style bagels. Having lived in Bergen County, N.J. for the first 15 years of my life, I consider myself somewhat of a NY-style bagel
junkie aficionado, so when I read “Montreal-style” bagels, I promised myself I’d keep an open mind since, honestly, I can’t find a single NY-Style bagel on the west coast that’s worth a damn.
At Eltana, I was treated to an “everything” bagel (a bagel with sesame and poppy seeds, salt, onion, and garlic) and loved it. The bagel is definitely smaller and denser than a traditional NY-style bagel, and it’s got the slightest crunch when you first bite into it; but it was flavorful and not at all dry (which is what I feared most, truth be told). I could eat the entire bagel dry (sans spread) without needing water to chase it down. The best part was that the seasoning and seeds were harmoniously slathered on both the top and bottom of the bagel.
The plain bagel had a little more of that initial crunch (nice, in my opinion) and the inside was softer and less dense than the “everything.” My husband took a piece of the plain and said, “This tastes just like a soft pretzel, minus the salt.”
I met with co-owner Daniel Levin who told me that his business partner, Stephen Brown went to school in Montreal, and the bagels back there stuck with him for decades. They opened their first store on Capitol Hill about two years ago and last May, they opened a kiosk at the new Armory at Seattle Center.
“We take the bagel out of its deli context to bring a deliciously different bagel to the west coast,” Levin explained to me. And it’s not just the bagels that are different. The spreads are also creative–from sweet: honey almond, date walnut, fig apricot (with sundried tomatoes, red wine and spices), or fresh ground almond butter, to savory: carmelized onion hummus, red pepper and walnut (with pomegranate molasses), fava bean mint (with mint and caraway), white bean and feta (with sundried tomatoes, lemon, and parsley), and spicy garlic (with garlic, ginger, cayenne, and red chilis). The best part is that you can experiment with these flavors by sampling them, like you would in an ice cream shop. Eltana also offers soups and stews including their signature “Shakshuka”, an Israeli stew made with egg and feta.
Eltana is open 7 days a week, from 7:00am to 5:00pm. The bagels are a buck a piece, or $11.50 for a baker’s dozen. They’ll deliver to groups, parties, and offices. For the rest of us, there is free parking in the garage on the 39th Street side of the building. If you give them a try, let us know what you think!