Next stop: Bagel Station. Cross Route 35, which seems to divide the town pretty evenly in half, and leave the downtown for the quieter side of town. The shop is, of course, right across from the town train station. Although the inside looks much newer than Bagel Oven–almost brand new, a sign announces “Est. 1988.”
First we were hit by a strong odor of Windex–yang to the yin of Bagel Oven’s cobwebs (maybe overcompensating, too). Then by the television, playing the news. The interior is handsome dark wood and squeaky-clean stainless steel.
We Bagelrated two bagels at this establishment: an everything with vegetable cream cheese, and a sesame with plain cream cheese. The bagels were HUGE and almost roll-like; they would be excellent companions to bacon, egg, and cheese. They were fluffy, but the dough does not rise back into place when pinched. “Something is a bit off,” one Rated noted of the flavor. They just didn’t taste fresh. The veg. CC was “good,” with big chunks of vegetables that “pair[ed] well with the large bagels.”
THE TAKEAWAY: It is a tale of bagular contrasts and Goldilocks-like dilemmas in Red Bank: one large, one small. One too dirty, one too clean. One east, one west. Both are unique, but it still holds true that flavor is inverse to size, and Bagel Oven, despite its’ dinginess, takes the cake here.
168 Monmouth St.
Red Bank, NJ