clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ex-New York Times Critic Says Montreal Bagels Are ‘Like Chewing Broken Glass’

The Cynthia Nixon bagel drama somehow spills over

The 8th Annual New York Culinary Experience Presented By New York Magazine And The International Culinary Center - Day 2 Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Writer and ex-New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton stirred up fuss on Twitter Thursday night after sharply denouncing Montreal-style bagels, complaining that they’re too thin, and with “so many seeds atop it’s like chewing glass”.

The criticism seemed to be a knock-on effect after it was discovered that now-defeated candidate for New York governor Cynthia Nixon enjoys eating cinnamon-raisin bagels topped with lox (specifically, from Upper West Side store Zabar’s). That prompted a column in the New Yorker from writer and one-time Montrealer Adam Gopnik, where he perhaps sidetracked a little to comment that Zabar’s doesn’t even sell real bagels, and the true bagel is a wood-fired Montreal one (assumedly from Fairmount or St-Viateur).

Then Sheraton jumped in, and she squeezed an impressive quantity of criticism into one tweet, deeming the Montreal version to be at best a “bagelizze” (presumably some kind of smaller and bagel-adjacent bread product).

And surprise: some people thought that was harsh, to say the least. Critic Lesley Chesterman seemed to lead the charge, calling it offensive.

But plenty of others jumped on, suggesting that either Sheraton had not tried Montreal bagels, or was sorely mistaken.

Obviously, the New York versus Montreal bagel rivalry is nothing new, although for many, the reasonable (and perhaps more polite) conclusion is that bready New York dough pucks are a different beast to the sweeter, thinner, and denser Montreal version — therefore comparing the two isn’t a very fruitful activity.

It’s worth noting that Montreal bagels have been slowly networking their way across the USA and winning fans, with copies of it beginning to appear in a range of bakeries across the country. But there’s some extra validation for any Montrealers feeling the sting — some of the people defending our bagel were Americans, and even New Yorkers.

Fairmount Bagel

74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 2M2 (514) 272-0667 Visit Website

St-Viateur Bagel

158 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 2L3 (514) 270-2972 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Montreal newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world