Schwartz’s Deli MontrealPosted By Alex Chinien Jan 08 2012 · 3 comments · Dining Out, Plateau
There is no eatery in Montreal as sacred and untouchable as Schwartz’s Deli. While some claim smoked meat allegiances to The Main or Smoked Meat Pete – none can deny the history enshrined within Schwartz’s walls since 1928. Fans of the Deli will tell you that over the last 80 years, little has changed – and they may be right. Despite numerous rumored offers to create Schwartz’s franchise restaurants across North America, the owners have refused all and have remained in their iconic location on St Laurent Blvd. In the fall 2008 they expanded and opened an additional take out location next door.
We expected a line up when we arrived for Saturday lunch at Schwartz’s and that is what we got. Luckily, we were able to skip much of the line when a table for two opened up and only had to wait about 10 minutes. Although the restaurant is extremely busy, the hustle and bustle has a rhythm and organization to it – not as chaotic as one might imagine. We ordered the classic Smoked Meat Sandwich with two monster Kosher Pickles and the obligatory Cherry Cola. The cuts of smoked meat offered were lean, medium or fatty – we went with medium. Service was quick and to the point (as expected) although I’ve heard that the servers have a reputation for impatience – I think this part of the experience.
I can’t emphasize enough how huge these kosher pickles are. We ate them with a fork and knife and my first bite squirted juice all over my sweater. Delicious and crunchy, sweet and sour – the pickle pairs perfectly with the salty smoked meat sandwich. The sandwich is served on classic rye bread with yellow mustard. We added more mustard on demand and began the challenge of eating these temples of meat.
The meat was salty, tangy and moist with signature Schwartz’s spice. Just the right amount of fatty edges to chew through and smoked to get that perfect dark red colour. I like cherry cola to begin with but was amazed by how well it paired with the smoked meat and pickle. After swallowing a bite of food, a generous sip of cherry cola tasted marvelous.
There really isn’t much else I can say about a deli so famous and historic that it has it’s own musical. It’s a Montreal classic so do yourself a favour and check it out.
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