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From Royal Bagel to Minibar: Bagels and Lox Go Humble to Haute

Some Washington restaurants have taken a common breakfast pairing and tailored it to a white-tablecloth menu.

At Royal Bagel Bakery & Deli: bagels, cream cheese, and lox the old-fashioned way. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Few breakfasts are simpler and more satisfying than a bagel with cream cheese and slices of lox—the cured, cold-smoked salmon that’s the pride of many a Jewish deli. Now it’s become the pride of many kinds of restaurants. We’ll start at the humble end of the spectrum:

Royal Bagel Bakery & Deli. This family-run shop excels at the tried and true—cream-cheese-smeared rounds layered with Nova lox.

2 Amys. Sunday mornings, the pizza oven at this Cleveland Park Italian spot creates house-made bagels using whey left over from the buffalo mozzarella and slathered with house-made cream cheese. They’re topped with—what else?—lox cured in-house.

Michel. In Michel Richard’s whirring mind, a breakfast staple becomes a dinner appetizer in the form of a many-layered terrine of salmon and crème fraîche.

Volt. Thin slices of braised, cold-smoked, and sous-vide-cooked Arctic char are paired with “flavors of everything bagel”—crumbs of brioche pulverized with bacon, garlic chips, and coriander.

Minibar. Dinner at José Andrés’s modernist mecca—and at his Los Angeles restaurant, the Bazaar—might start with a dill-cream-cheese-filled cone topped with salmon roe.

This article appears in the April 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.  

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