Maybe it's because I didn't catch them fresh out of the oven, but I honestly wasn't blown away by Absolute Bagels. While I would certainly eat my way through their extensive variety of cream cheese spreads if I lived around the area (why didn't I try their scallion cream cheese?!), I'm not sure if their bagels were worth the hike from Lower Manhattan to the Upper West Side.
My everything bagel was light with a satisfying crunch, and a good balance of sweet, salt and malt. But it didn't hit the spot like how my favorite St. Viateur bagels do- or at least, in its two-hour-old, toasted form.
What I really liked about this place, however, was how how each order was literally schmeared with a mountain of cream cheese. And it wasn't just any ol' Philadelphia stuff from a tub- the cream cheese served here was farm-fresh and lusciously smooth. In fact, Absolute Bagel's spreads might well be enticing enough to warrant a revisit... Smoked salmon lovers should be warned, though, that the Nova bagel costs a whopping $9!
If you decide to visit Absolute Bagels, do drop by in the mornings when the bagels are still fresh. In the meantime, before I discover a truly impressive NY-style bagel, I continue to pledge my allegiance their Montreal-style cousins- more about them next time!