Unfrozen Caveman Food Critic - Bagel King
Bagel King? BAGEL King? Cavemen don't eat bagels! Well, you're right, but sometimes cavemen take the day off. As such, it makes sense to only get THE BEST bagels, and in Orlando, that means going to Bagel King.
Recently remodeled, the Cassleberry Commons location has a bright spacious interior that marks a vast improvement over the restaurants previous incarnation. Self-seating is the rule, and competition can be fierce during the prime weekend feeding hours.
If you don't feel like staking out a seat, take-out ordering is available, and all menu items, including their famous bagels, pastries, wide variety of cream cheese spreads and fresh-brewed coffee. It deserves mentioning that the cream cheese spreads are not home-made in the strictest sense, but all the flavorings are added in house. The flavoring are also NOT like those found at the grocery store. For example, the "veggie" actually has whole pieces of vegetables, the sun-dried tomato has actual sun-dried tomatoes, etc.
If you do find yourself seated (I recommend one of the tables, located in the center of the restaurant), you can grab one of their reusable coffee mugs (or bring your own) and head over to the beverage station. At first, it may seem odd that you have to get your own drinks, but in practice, the system is much better. Not only do you eliminate the waiting associated with other breakfast joints, but you can combine different coffee flavors to make you own personal blend (my personal favorite is 1/2 chocolate raspberry and 1/2 hazelnut with half & half). Of course, you can grab an orange juice or soda too.
So now that you're seated, your favorite beverage in hand, you can now relax and peruse the menu. What you'll find is a large selection of unique breakfast combinations such as "Andy's Special" (bagel sandwich with cheese), "King's Special" (home-fries, eggs with cheese, bagel, and a drink), "The Odd Morning After" (1/2 of a King's Special plus a slice of outrageous Challah bread french toast), and many, many more.
In addition to the breakfast combinations, there are numerous omelet and egg options, as well as an entire lunch menu that features a variety of deli sandwiches as well as some staples such as matza ball soup and potato knishes (seasoned mashed potatoes in a flaky pastry crust.)
On this particular trip, my dining partner ordered the King's special with an Asiago cheese bagel (one of the "premium" bagels that comes with a small extra charge) and I ordered an omelet stuffed with red and green bell peppers, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. I also chose to swap out the bagel included with my omelet for a side of their corned beef hash (corned beef and diced potatoes) which, again, included a small up-charge.
If you can't tell from the above pictures, the portions are, how do you say, EPIC! If you leave Bagel King hungry, you probably have a tape-worm. The eggs are masterfully cooked, always light and fluffy and there is no shortage of them. Home-fries, while hit or miss, are typically full of nice crunchy bits, and mixed with garlic and onions. The bagels, from what I hear (wink wink), are doughy perfection. Crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and loaded with flavor, whether is sesame or poppy seed, multi-grain, cinnamon sugar, etc. The corned beef hash is also a great side for those who prefer meat with their potatoes.
One drawback is the strange inclusion of turkey bacon and turkey sausage with the menu items that feature bacon and sausage. I'm generally adverse to any sort of bacon outside of the porcine variety, and would rather see their Applewood-smoked bacon featured more prominently. This is one small gripe, however, and simply a matter of personal taste. I'm sure some people actually like turkey bacon.
The staff, also, deserves special mention. It is rare, in this time of economic uncertainty, for a restaurant to retain their staff the way Bagel King does. Many Bagel King employees know their patrons personally, remember orders, and go out of their way to ensure that the experience is a positive one.
And did I mention the price? Even after the up-charges, the bill for two came out to under $15 dollars.
Meatiness - 3 out of 5, Bagel King is a carb lovers wet dream, but the eggs and deli meats boost the overall meatiness of the experience.
Value - 5 out of 5, Less than $15 for two full adult bellies, nuff said.
Flavor - 5 out of 5, Bagel King, try Flavor King!
Setting - 4 out of 5, The new remodel definitely snazzed up the setting.
Service - 5 out of 5, The servers are top notch and the food typically arrives with little wait.
Overall Score - 4.4
Want to spend some time with The King? Check out their menu at the official Bagel King website.