By: Miriam Lubin and Sarah Hudes
This past July, American hero and culinary maestro Guy Fieri graced our town with his presence. Guy Fieri, Food Network Star winner, host of the TV show Diners Drive-ins and Dives, is an inspiration to many—especially us, two avid Triple D viewers. When we first heard that Guy was in Plainsboro, we were nothing less than excited. We were ecstatic…and soon disheartened. Disheartened upon hearing exactly where Mr. Fieri would be visiting—Plainsboro’s Bagel Street Grill. As two Jewish girls in New Jersey, we knew that Bagel Street was far from top notch. In fact, we knew they were incompetent when it came to perhaps the most important factor in the creation a good bagel—the toastiness.
After hearing this news, we started to reflect on why so many people like Bagel Street and defend it so vehemently. It couldn’t be convenience. Bagel Street is about a seven-minute car ride away from North, compared to the five-minute drive to the very capable toasting facility, the Bagel Place in the Plainsboro Plaza. It couldn’t be based on the quality of the classic toasted-everything-with-cream-cheese. So we started to wonder: have people never had a decent bagel? Why are so many people still turning to Bagel Street for their bagels? Why is Guy Fieri devoting his precious time endorsing Bagel Street?
We were extremely curious as to why Guy Fieri would even bother. His show centers around the extraordinary, not the mediocre. We were so curious, in fact, that we went against our better judgement and returned to the Bagel Street Grill ourselves.
Every time Guy visits a diner, drive in, or drive, he tries out their signature dish. We wondered if Bagel Street even had a signature dish other than disappointment.
On his website, Guy referred to Bagel Street Grill as “a world-class bagel shop spicing up their specialty and topping things off with Jersey’s famous pork roll.” Through our extensive research, we also found that the most reliable Google reviewers seemed to agree on one thing: Bagel Street’s jalapeño bagels were the bomb. It was time to test those babies out.
So, on September 25, 2016, we ordered two things: an egg and cheese sandwich with pork roll on a toasted plain bagel and a toasted jalapeño bagel with cream cheese. As we took precarious bites into the jalapeño bagel, we were pleasantly surprised. The bagel-to-cream cheese ratio was surprisingly perfect. The jalapeño flavor was obviously there, but not overpowering. It seemed perfect. Perfect until we remembered something—we had ordered it toasted.
As we inspected the supposedly “toasted” side of the bagel, it appeared toasted but was soft to the touch. It seemed as though it had been painted to look toasted. The same rang true with the egg sandwich, the very sandwich tested by Guy himself. The sandwich was completely mediocre, definitely not the “Jersey’s famous pork roll” described on Guy’s official website. It wasn’t the best, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. After testing these bagels ourselves, our preconceptions of Bagel Street were challenged—to an extent. While the Bagel Street definitely delivered on the jalapeño bagel, the “Jersey’s famous pork roll” was lacking. We are still confused as to why Guy Fieri came to Bagel Street in the first place, but we guess we’ll just have to tune in to Triple D to see.