Restaurant Review: The Lox Bagel Shop
Even in the midst of recent restaurant closures, no one would ever call the Short North “underserved.” On the ritzier end, it has pretty much everything. Honestly, it probably has two of everything. And when it comes to Cameron Mitchell restaurants, it’s got like…five?
But breakfast has never really been the Short North’s game. Sure, there are coffee shops, and brunch spots on the weekend, but if you want a WOW breakfast on a Wednesday…Well, the options in the neighborhood are limited. And with the closure of the waffle place, they just got a lot more limited.
So, if it’s Wednesday, and you’re looking for a Short North solution to the breakfast question, The Lox is a nice spot to land.
Let’s start with an acknowledgement: not everyone likes lox (the food). Not everyone finds fish, even smoked salmon, to be an optimal start to the day. Midwesterners more often turn to the comfort of eggs and pork products such as sausage or bacon. Truly, while the lox at The Lox is excellent, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy The Lox. It could have just as easily been named The Bagel, because that’s (arguably) its true foundation for success.
Its bagels are made in the traditional fashion: first a boil, then a bake. It sets them apart from most bakery bagels. You notice the difference from the first bite. Sometimes, when eating lesser bagels, it feels a bit like you’re in a scene from Animal Planet; being a predator in a struggle to rip and tear a bite out of the bagel-prey. But with The Lox offerings, you get the right bagel density, along with an uncommon tenderness that is thoroughly appreciated.
Also, when it comes down to it, the bagels are well-coated in seasoning. Seasoning always counts for something. You can appreciate it most especially in the Everything and Sea Salt and Herb versions of the bagels ($2.25 straight). The bread-to-seasoning ratio hits the sweet spot, so to speak, though they’re savory, not sweet.
From the bagel foundation, you can upscale things modestly with cream cheese ($1), which is generously slathered. With a good bagel, the thick, rich smoothness of a non-flavored cream cheese is appreciated, but it also comes in up-charge flavors that range from a traditional garlic to a fuchsia-hued flavor that’s enhanced with beet and thyme.
We’ve waited a minute to discuss The Lox at The Lox. It’s time. “The Lox” is the name of a colorful lox sandwich at The Lox ($12.50). Bright-pink smoked salmon is inherently colorful, of course, but there’s a lot of salmon, lavishly layered, to admire. The effect is luxe, and it’s joined with cream cheese and a posse of plumped capers and pickled onions. Everything is a little over-the-top in the sandwich, but it has to be, to keep up with the serious bagels.
For those who are not yet ready for The Lox, consider an Egg and Cheese Bagel ($8). It might not be as colorful as The Lox, but it will still be good. There is sausage and bacon as potential add-ons, but if you go outside traditional breakfast meats, the pastrami here is special (Add $4). Thick-cut and uncommonly fresh, it’s pastrami worth appreciating.
The Lox is open until 2 p.m. daily, serving from a breakfast and lunch menu that expands to include options such as tuna and turkey sandwiches. You can find it at 772 N. High St.
All photos by Susan Post