Best Bagels and Lox in Washington, D.C.

By Troy Petenbrink

Bagels and lox became a popular duo in New York City’s deli scene more than a hundred years ago. It has since become a staple on menus of a diverse genre of restaurants found all across the U.S. and around the world. And while “lox” traditional referred to salt-cured salmon belly, it has become more generic in its meaning in recently years and now commonly references any many types of cured salmon — especially smoked salmon. For those seeking to explore this classic combo, here are the places you don’t want to miss.

The Bagelry
36 Vital Way
Silver Spring, MD 20904
(301) 384-2322
www.bagelrysilverspring.com

For more than 30 years The Bagelry has been making bagels the old world way — boiled and baked — giving them that perfect crispy crust and chewy inside. Visitors to its Silver Spring shop will find all the traditional flavors such as plain, poppy seed, and sesame, and plenty of contemporary flavors such as cinnamon raisin, jalapeno, and blueberry. Purists will enjoy the fact that The Bagelry offers outstanding belly lox. It also carries a rich lox spread and smoked salmon sourced locally from Ivy City Smokehouse.

Commissary
1443 P St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 299-0018
www.commissarydc.com

Located in DC’s Logan Circle neighborhood, Commissary is a combination coffeehouse and lounge bar. It has a light fare menu that includes top-notch bagels and lox during breakfast. The bagels are from Bullfrog Bagels, which has been named to Washington City Paper’s annual “Best of D.C.” Commissary offers its guests a choice of plain, everything, or sesame. Its farm-raised salmon comes in fresh daily. The salmon is then salt-cured and smoked with brown sugar, onion powder, and fresh dill. The bagels and lox are served on a platter with a homemade herb and caper cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and more capers.

Radiator
1430 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 742-3150
www.radiatordc.com

Located adjacent to Kimpton’s Mason & Rook Hotel, Radiator is a cocktail bar that pays tribute to D.C.’s 14th Street neighborhood’s history when the area was once home to many automotive showrooms. Of course diners can get their engines revving with executive chef Jonathan Dearden’s brunch time twist on bagels and lox. He serves house-made salmon belly rillettes with freshly baked sea salt lavash, capers, lemon and olive oil. Chef Dearden uses Skuna Bay salmon for his rillettes and lightly dry cures the salmon belly in salt, sugar, orange, and lemon zest.

Related: Best Omelets In Washington, D.C.

Simit + Smith
1077 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 758-0553
www.simitandsmith.com

Located in D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood, Simit + Smith is a Turkish pastry shop and café. One of its most popular items is the simit with smoked salmon sandwich. Often referred to as a “Turkish bagel,” simit is a circular bread that looks like a bagel but is prepared differently. Whereas bagels are boiled or steamed prior to baking, simit is simply dipped in a water and molasses solution prior to baking, which gives it a distinct hint of sweetness. The bread is very common throughout the Middle East and has grown in popularity in the U.S.  For the sandwich, the simit is sliced and smeared with cream cheese and packed with smoked Nova Scotia salmon, tomato and onion.

Marcus At MGM National Harbor
101 MGM National Ave.
Oxon Hill, MD 20745
(301) 971-6010
www.mgmnationalharbor.com

Celebrated chef Marcus Samuelsson is known for his ability to elevate classic dishes to new heights of enjoyment. And his approach to bagels and lox is no different. At his namesake restaurant in the luxury MGM National Harbor gaming resort, he serves a yummy house made gravlax with pickled red onions, capers, crème fraiche, a soft boiled egg and a toasted thin-sliced bagel. The New York style bagels are locally sourced from Whatsabagel and the gravlax is made using farm-raised Scottish salmon and Samuelsson’ signature curing process that consists of fine-grained salt, sugar, dill, toasted peppercorns and allspice berries. The curing takes approx. 72 hours before the salmon is ready to be served. For guests of the MGM National Harbor, the dish is also available on the resort’s in-room dining menu, created exclusively by chef Samuelsson.

Related: Best Craft Coffee Spots in Washington, D.C.

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