“Men are more easily governed through their vices than their through virtues” -Napoleon Bonaparte
The resto and auberge BONAPARTE is a charming French restaurant in Old Montreal, that has survived the test of time. Bustling with travellers and locals alike, and a Centaur theatre favorite, Bonaparte does 3 things Napoleon himself would approve of: Serves food quickly for theatre goers, ALWAYS has fresh baguette and is proud of its name.
Being French, I know good French food when I taste it. I can taste the years of schooling that a good saucier had to endure before making sage butter perfection, or the amount of Aperol that should be present, in a good French Martini..
We started with some typical french apps. Pan seared duck fois gras and a light caper speckled smoked salmon -en fleurette of course! The duck fois gras came with ginger snaps and a salty Crème brûlée. This alone gave me quite a conflict, as my previous favorite and long-standing entree of now 3 years, has been the mushroom raviolis with heavenly sage butter. I will forever have to toss a coin!
Our main dishes were French classics. A rare fillet mignon with cognac reduction, some nice al dente root veggies like the photogenic heirloom carrot and a lobster stew with vanilla muscat cream and a swirl of fresh fettuccine. My boyfriend had the lobster, I had the beef.
I was 100% satisfied with my plate of perfection. What was really nice about it was the cooking accuracy. It was rare but still grilled and came on a nice hot plate. I stole a few pieces of tender lobster claw, hid it in its lathered pasta nest and enjoyed that delicacy as well.
Dessert was OF COURSE, crème brûlée which is an absolute MUST if you are reviewing a French resto. Now, almost everyone loves a crème brûlée but actually doesn’t know exactly how it is supposed to taste. 99% of restos get the inside bang on. I mean, how can you screw up basic custards.
What is the magic in French cuisine, is the brûlée. The hard torched shell should actually be somewhat tricky to break with your spoon. It should feel and sound as though you are snapping a thin layer of ice on top of snow. A real snap. The caramelization of the cream and sugar should have a roasted marshmallow charry taste and the surface should look like a brindle of tan and almost-burnt. 10/10 Bonaparte!
One thing that the Bonaparte has that makes them truly a unique and fun dining spot is their bar. It is a bar that you can eat at, relax by and socialize. By design it is a giant letter C of cozy with comfy high chairs and a nice shiny stone top bar, with a fresh floating flower awaiting the guests. Surrounded by friendly waiters with nice hair cuts, you are sure to enjoy the service as much as the food 😉