Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Schwartz's Deli : Montreal

I never realized how large of a Jewish population there was in Quebec and specifically Montreal. I was pretty surprised when I heard that Montreal was known for its bagels and smoked meats.

On a previous trip to Montreal, my brother had gone to this place, Schwartz's Deli, which serves up smoked meat sandwiches, and upon his recommendation, we headed there for lunch.

The place seems to be relatively well-known (and respected) by locals and tourists alike, making for a crowded and bustling experience. (When you see t-shirts being sold of the place, that's kind of a tip-off.) Nonetheless, the crowds are handled well by the snappy and almost New York-esque like wait-staff. Neither the uhh bustlingness nor the wait-staff are pictured below. But what is pictured is the very casual atmosphere, which was comforting for our T-shirt and jeans American ways.

We ended up going with two large sandwich plates of smoked meat, which was more than sufficient for the four of us. Interestingly, they serve the bread...

... separate from the meat.

And I suppose this is a good of a test of one's natural outlook on other people as any. Do you think they do this for culinary reasons? Perhaps serving the meat on the bread makes the bread soggy? Artistic reasons? Perhaps we are supposed to bask in the art of the meat by itself? Cynical business reasons? They don't have to put the sandwich together ourselves, saving time and money. Or perhaps because they're liberal Canadians? The customer is free to make and customize the sandwich to their hearts' delights...

Btw, if anyone does know the actual reason for doing this, feel free to enlighten me.

And oh yeah, here are the accompanying fries.

Anyways, so far as the food goes, well, it was good. The bread was rather uninspiring, but the meat was satisfying with a noticeable peppercorn flavor. It was not quite as moist and luscious as the massive corned beef sandwich served at Hershel's in Philadelphia Reading Terminal Market (my most recent reference point for smoked meats.) And I can only imagine that some of the joints in New York are much better as well, but all in all, it was a different and satisfying meal and certainly something interesting to try as a visitor.

Schwartz's Deli
3895 St Laurent Montréal, QC H2W 1X9, Canada (Map)
(514) 842-4813 | Chow | Yelp
($Canada, $Montreal, $Sandwiches)

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