Four visits in one week. That's my track record at the newly opened Rosenberg's Bagel & Delicatessen in Five Points. Pathetic or obsessive, I haven't decided. Either way, it's not just the New York-style bagels (plump and chewy, not oversized and doughy) that have me coming through the doors, it's the cured and smoked fish in the deli case. I order the Standard (pictured) with cream cheese, house-cured gravlax, tomato, red onion, and capers, but I swap out the salmon for owner Josh Pollack's jewel-like, smoked steelhead trout. The cool, thin slices offer just hint of smoke and a tender bite.
The steelhead is just one of the many types of fish Pollack cures and smokes on-site. Rosenberg's smoker sits right behind the counter where it works its magic on 20 sides at a time. The selection, which is inspired by New York's Russ & Daughters, Zabar's, and Barney Greengrass, rotates but often includes cold-smoked Scottish salmon, New Zealand salmon, Eastern Nova salmon, and a seasonal catch (currently the steelhead); and hot-smoked kippered salmon, whole whitefish, chub, sturgeon, and sable. (Rosenberg's fish is so good, that a chef from the Kitchen Next Door works shifts in exchange for fillets.) Make the most of these choices by ordering a specialty sandwich, such as the Standard (my favorite), or the High Class: bagel, cream cheese, wild-caught smoked salmon, and caviar. Whatever you choose, consider layering the toppings on a pumpernickel-everything bagel.
Speaking of caviar: In addition to caviar cream cheese—yes, you read that right—Rosenberg's offers a variety of the cured fish eggs (from osetra and white sturgeon to hackleback and trout roe) by the gram. Pollack, who loves caviar, especially in the context of bagels, is somewhat giddy about the possibilities. "If the program is well received by the public and we are going through a lot of it, we would consider offering flights of salmon and caviar," he says. "It's super exciting for me to be able to offer these unique foods and flavor profiles to the Denver community."
725 E. 26th Ave.