First came the Cronut. Now, there’s the Cragel.
On January 13th, the New York City blog Gothamist broke the news that the Bagel Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was baking up a bagel-croissant hybrid no doubt inspired by the wild success of Manhattan bakery Dominique Ansel’s cronut, a pastry cream-filled, croissant-like flaky pastry. The latter became a bonafide phenomenon: hours-long lines formed outside the bakery, and pastry chef Ansel even trademarked the term—check out the little “TM” in a recent profile run by Food & Wine magazine.
After the Gothamist piece ran, numerous outlets flocked to the Bagel Store on Bedford Avenue to interview owner Scot Rosillo, who claimed that customers had been “absolutely astounded by the taste” and said that the store had trouble keeping the cragels stocked. Still, only a few blogs actually tasted the cragel to verify such claims. Such was my mission earlier today, when I made the trip up to the store to conduct a taste test.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived? The store’s cragel offerings had expanded from one flavor—plain—to several, including a pretzel-croissant type as well as a cinnamon sugar variety. But being the good Jew that I am, the type that caught my eye was the (poorly-named) “Ruagel,” a so-called cross between a bagel and a chocolate rugelach. I picked up both a ruagel and a plain cragel and went on my way.
Back at the Jewish Week offices, I dug into my bounty. I liked the ruagel: it’s very flaky, with a hit of light chocolate flavor and a little bit of complementary saltiness, but certainly doesn’t satisfy like an Ostrovitsky’s rugelach does. And the original cragel? In my opinion, it’s a total dud: neither light and flaky enough to qualify as a croissant, nor hearty and chewy like a good bagel, with a dull, under-salted flavor. If you’re in the New York area, try it yourself and see if you agree.
The Bagel Store
349 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Note: the Bagel Store is not a kosher bakery.