Welcome back to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I just had my salad tossed by a large burly man behind the counter at Bagel Boy.
[Ed. — Strap yourselves in, folks. Robert is about to beat the heck out of a dead horse.]
Like a cattle being led to slaughter I joined the long lunch-time line, slowly inching to the counter where I requested a romaine salad, $4.25 with three additional items tossed in. I watched as the gentleman, oh, please be gentle [Ed. — Whack!], nonchalantly donned a pair of rubber gloves and opened a container of lettuce.
“What do you want in your salad?” he asked, as if tossing another man’s salad in a crowded store was an everyday experience [Ed. — Whack! Whack!]. I choose my “toss-ins” and dressing. “All those toss-ins are soft. Why don’t we add something hard for some crunch?”, he suggests. I add in some candied nuts. [Ed. — I bet you did! Woo!]
He then began to toss my salad, all in complete indifference. When he was done he led me to the cashier, where he placed my salad in a brown paper bag, added a plastic shopping bag (now he uses protection), and asks for payment. Meekly, I pay and leave.
[Ed. — Whack! Whack! Whack!]
If you’re still with me after that humiliating experience, let’s get our minds out of the gutter and talk about the food. Bagel Boy is one of only a handful of “toss your own” salad bars in the neighborhood. For the basic price of $4.25, you choose between crisp romaine, mixed greens or spinach for your base and add three items from the 50 cent menu. The toss-ins range in price from 50 cents for standard salad fare like beets, carrots and tomatoes to $2.00 for things like grilled chicken, shrimp and grilled portobello mushrooms. On top of all that, Bagel Boy offers a stunning number of dressing choices. With all these options, I would bet that you could have your salad tossed for a year at Bagel Boy and come up with a different combination every day.
With all those options, building your own salad can get very pricey. The man behind the counter, by upselling me the nuts, added 75 cents to my basic salad. If I added some bacon and artichoke hearts, ($1.50 each) my $4.25 salad would now cost me a whopping $8.00!
I often wonder about salad bar pricing in general. Did I really get my money’s worth? This isn’t a shot at Bagel Boy, from what I’ve seen they’re one of the lower priced salad bars, but $4.75 for what may be five leaves of cut up romaine lettuce, six or so cherry tomatoes, a few slices of canned beets, and maybe one sliced mushroom doesn’t seem like such a bargain. But I’m paying for the convenience of not having to build the salad myself and the experience.
So, today I had my salad tossed by a big burly man in a crowded store filled with strangers and I enjoyed myself. I suggest you do it, too.
Bagel Boy, 1602 Avenue Z, (718) 332-3444.