In Paris, a good bagel can be difficult, er, make that impossible, to find. So, imagine my happiness when I came across a new bagel stand on my way to the grocery store. Called the “I (heart) COCO Bagel Store,” this tiny stand is part of Coco et Co, a chic, egg-focused brunch restaurant.
Not only does owner Thomas Kolinikoff (that’s him in the photo above) have bagels in his blood (his mother is an American of bagel-loving (Jewish) roots), he also lived in New York City for a couple of years, sampling the city’s best. For the record, his favorite are from Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side.
Kolinikoff bakes all the bagels purveyed at the I (heart) COCO Bagel Store. Variety is still slim — only plain, sesame and poppyseed are on offer — but the stand has only been open a few weeks, so perhaps garlicky-oniony-everything bagels will one day perfume the corner. Meanwhile, Kolinikoff injects some New York flavor into his bagel sandwiches, with each named after a NYC neighborhood. Among them are the Chelsea (smoked turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, 6€), the Brooklyn (pastrami, cornichons and mustard US — not to be confused with French moutarde, I suppose — 6€), and the Bronx (salmon, cream cheese, red onion, 6€). I sampled the Veggie (tomato, lettuce, cucumber, cream cheese, olive oil, 4.50€).
With its dainty schmear of cream cheese and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the sandwich was decidedly un-American, though I actually preferred this lighter version. As for the actual bagel — was it as good as my favorite, New York’s Tal Bagel on First Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets? No. Though it was moderately chewy, the crust wasn’t crunchy enough, while the crumb was too soft. But given that France is a nearly bagel-free zone, it wasn’t bad. Pas mal du tout.
I (heart) COCO Bagel Store
11 rue Bernard Palissy, 6ème
tel: 01 45 44 02 52
Open: Monday-Saturday, 10.30am-5pm