Bagels are excellent, and service is friendly

TAKEOUT

Other food is good, if uninspired, at Bin

Takeout

May 12, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The first Bagel Bin & Deli opened more than 20 years ago in Columbia's Wilde Lake area. Today there are eight of the restaurants scattered around Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

The Bagel Bins sell excellent bagels that are crusty and chewy - two fine attributes, in my opinion. You can get any number of sandwiches made with the bagels, or bread or croissants. The restaurants also offer a limited number of breakfast dishes, as well as the usual assortment of espresso and other coffee drinks.

I chose to sample the Ellicott City outpost that sits in a shopping center next to the defunct Enchanted Forest amusement park. This Bagel Bin is decorated with fetching photographs of children and families taken by a local portrait photographer. During a somewhat busy lunch hour, service was friendly and efficient.

In a word, the food was solid, though hardly inspired.

A tuna-salad sandwich on a croissant ($5.39) was quite tasty, with a nice tanginess. (But I did miss having a few chips on the side, especially at that price.) The mesquite grilled chicken sandwich ($5.59) came with a huge quantity of slightly marinated breast meat. I made a mistake by not ordering mustard or mayonnaise for the sandwich.

A bagel sandwich featuring Nova salmon and cream cheese ($6.59) was a winner, even if the fish wasn't particularly tasty, thanks to the good bagel. And an onion bagel with lox spread ($3.20) was also just fine. The pizza bagel ($3.99) came with sauce, melted cheese and flakes of oregano. It's the kind of thing you should probably make at home with a day-old bagel.

The Bagel Bin offers a bunch of diet-busting desserts, made elsewhere. The black-bottom muffin ($1.50) was suitably gooey, and laced with chocolate chips.

There's plenty of parking in the shopping center lot.

Bagel Bin & Deli

Food: ** 1/2

Service: *** 1/2

Waiting area: *** 1/2

Parking: ***

Where: Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, 10040 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City

Phone: 410-418-7800

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (hours to expand in late spring)

Prices: Bagels, omelets, salads, sandwiches and wraps from $1.99 to $6.59; credit cards accepted ($10 minimum)

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