Bagel Standard: the best in Tokyo?

Food & Drink - July 16th, 2013

If you are searching for some of the best New York style bagels in Tokyo, Bagel Standard is well-worth the short trek from Nakameguro station, even in this summer heat – it’s that good.

Bagels and Japan are two words that don’t terribly make much sense together, weak chain versions we’ve had here have often been truly disappointing. Enters bagel master Minoru Yabushita, who’s already quite well-known among bagel lovers in Tokyo. His small, cosy shop specializes in NYC-style bagels, Yabushita himself having had extensive training at the Big Apple bagel institution, Kossar’s Bialys. The young chef graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and whipped up meals for the American ambassador in Japan before opening his own Bagel Standard shop two years ago.

Although the place serves a nice selection of fruit smoothies and refreshments, the spotlight is on the New York bagel, which definitely lives up to its name. The bagels have the perfect balance of puffiness and density, and they come in various flavours: plain, poppy seed, sesame, onion, and the weekend-only cinnamon raisin (priced between ¥180-230 each).

Bagels are not complete without cream cheese, and Yabushita’s homemade whipped concoctions are as good as the bread rings themselves. Blueberry, strawberry, dried tomato, olive, jalapeño, rum raisin, chocolate almond and cranberry pecan cinnamon are all part of the menu, but we highly recommend trying the fig cream cheese, or mango mint, which were heavenly paired with any kind of bagel (¥180-280).

Bagel Standard

Smaller touches around the shop will make some expats nostalgic, the peanut butter and jelly bagel sandwiches (¥210, perfect for a breakfast on-the-go) and the canned foods used as decor for example… A selection of bagel sandwiches (¥350-400) seem like a popular take-out item coming as they do with various fillings, such as honey mustard chicken, smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and egg, watercress and egg, tuna, and a vegetarian option.

It’s a small shop mostly for take out, but a bench set outside provides the ideal spot to nosh on the delicious treats, which are so difficult to find around here. This shop is a nice little treat, and easily accessible, so we’ll be going there weekly. Yabushita seems to have a tight-knit connection with the expat crowd as many love the shop, but seems like it’s just as popular with the locals.

Bagel Standard offers catering for events and corporate meetings, so it could be a good idea to have a typical NYC-themed feast to spruce things up a bit.

Bagel Standard (click through for official website)

2-8-19 Nakameguro (a 10-min walk from Nakameguro station, see map)

Open Wed-Sun 9:00-18:00

You can also find the Bagel Standard bagels at National Azabu supermarket, near Hiroo station.

Photos by Maaserhit Honda

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Text by Vivian Morelli