Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Restaurant Review: Andrea's Gerrard St. Bakery

There are some foodie things that I am a complete nutter about. Butter tarts. I have had very many in my life growing up in Eastern Ontario. The Platonic ideal is a lard based shell that is flaky and put into one of those muffin tins. The filling is two thirds up; gooey with raisins and crust. There is always a few loose strands of the filling that caramelizes along the shell. There is buttery goodness with the sweetness broken up with currant raisins. That's it.

There are no good butter tarts in Toronto. I know, now many people are going to say well you haven't tried so and so, and who likes raisins anyways. Save it. The closest to the ideal are in Apsley at Swiss Bear Restaurant.

But Andrea's Gerrard St. Bakery has me rethinking Plato and his Theory of Forms. Look at the tart sitting on the pedestal; it doesn't look like a butter tart. There is a French crust and traditional French tart form. A thin layer of butter pastry with a rather dark and slightly crackly surface looks a little like a small indentation in a slough. TRUE butter tarts don't look pretty either. The whole filling to crust ratio is off and there is no raisins. This has to be a failure.

My God, I am so wrong. The filling is rich because it uses real butter. There is a slight firmness that is just past gooey but way before firm, kind of like a perfectly scrambled egg. This is topped by the slightest of crusts. Hints of brown sugar make the appearance as the fine filling coats your tongue. The ratio of the buttery and flaky crust is perfect. Even though the filling is probably just a smidge past twice the depth of the crust, any more filling and it would be cloying, any less and it would taste of tart shell. I am wrong. This makes me rethink what I love about the traditional butter tart.

Oh yeah, it sells a bunch of other stuff. Some good - none horrible. If Andrea does nothing else in her life but make those butter tarts, she's good. Guy Fieri remarked that they often picked only the best dishes to show on the triple D and that often he wasn't fond of the other dishes. I wouldn't say that about Andrea's. The bakery makes a decent savoury scone and I would love to try her sandwiches but I may never get past the beast that made me so skeptical.

Andrea's Gerrard Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

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