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Bonatarte, You Complete Me (kind of)

Posted by Emily / December 14, 2007

I love Montreal. I’m convinced it’s one of the greatest cities in the world for food. But I recently realized that this wonderful city has thus far left me unfulfilled. Something has been missing in my life - something so simple and yet so essential that its absence has created a sad, empty space in the pit of my stomach.

That something is pie.

Montreal has a restaurant, bakery, food shop etc. to satisfy practically any craving. Montrealers can have fresh croissants for breakfast, bahn mi for lunch, and roti for dinner. But as far as I know, they can’t get a truly great piece of pie.

Pies are not completely absent in Montreal. For instance, I enjoy Rockaberry’s pies well enough, but I find the atmosphere too hectic. I have yet to find a local place that makes simple, quaint, delicious pies without all the hubbub.

But the winds of change, they are a blowin’.

A few months ago, an entrepreneurial fellow named Yves saw an opportunity to fill Montreal’s pie void. He opened up Bonatarte on St. Jacques and since then, according to Yves, business has been booming.

Last week, a couple friends and I hopped on the Metro to see what all the fuss was about. Since we’d skipped lunch, my friends and I felt entirely justified in splitting three of Bonatarte’s mini pies.

First came the cherry pie, and it was every bit as delightful as pie can be. The cherry filling was just a little bit tart, and the crust was extremely buttery and soft - so soft, in fact, that it was almost too flimsy to contain the filling. But overall, it worked for me.

Next, I sampled the pumpkin pie. It was decent, but (and this is the only situation when I can imagine saying this) I think I prefer the pumpkin pie I’ve made myself. My only issue is with the crust. I prefer pie crusts to be on the lighter, dryer end of the spectrum. Bonaparte’s seemed to be made of one part flour, two parts butter. The cherry pie was tart enough to balance out the rich crust, but the pumpkin filling made the whole thing much too heavy. I know, I know, pumpkin pie is supposed to be heavy. But I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. And when I can only handle a couple small bites, that line has been crossed.

The blueberry crumble replaced the aftertaste of butter in my mouth with outrageous sweetness. A little more lemon juice in the filling would have made all the difference in the world. I wasn’t expecting to find right-off-the-bush blueberries in the filling, but they could have been blue tomatoes for all I could tell. Any blueberry taste was completely obscured by sugar.

When we finished our pies, I was feeling very hyper and a little hopeful. Bonatarte doesn’t hit the mark every time, but it comes a little closer to the down-homey pies that I love so dearly.

6226 St. Jacques West, NDG
(514)468-PIES (7437)

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