I didn't really get the appeal of bagels and lox until about a year and a half ago when I went to Russ & Daughters in New York City. But that sandwich... sliced to order cured salmon paired simply with a generous schmear of cream cheese on a chewy bagel... now I understand. Which is why I was so excited to see that recently opened Reno down the street from me in Logan Square serves a lox sandwich. Would it, could it live up to my expectations? The short answer: yes, though this sandwich is a different beast entirely.
The Hook ($8.00) is comprised of house-cured togarashi lox, thinly sliced cucumber, creamy avocado, artichoke cream cheese, and sharp and crunchy red onion, all piled high between your choice of freshly wood-fired bagel (I went with My Everything). The cure on the rich, fatty salmon is mild, which means all the ingredients get their turn in the spotlight. Points for the restrained application of cream cheese, though the avocado and cucumber slices craved salt. The real star here, though, is the bagel itself: the inspired heavy use of cornmeal lends a uniform crunch to the exterior, while the interior is satisfyingly chewy. Paired with a bottomless cup of Stumptown Coffee ($3.50), this sandwich renders any lingering NYC wistfulness a thing of the past.