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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Schwartz's Deli

I had a great dining experience last night, in Montreal, at Schwartz's Deli. I was told they have the greatest smoked meat of anywhere, and I think that statement is probably correct. I sat at the counter, because the place was PACKED, with a looong line out the door. Seating is communal at tables of 6 or 8, I think. I was alone on business and didn't want to deal with sitting at a communal table and having to make small talk, so the counter was fine. It gave me a birds eye view into the ins and outs of Schwartz's anyways: I feel like I had the "true" Schwartz's experience.
The deli is "Hebraique" which means its kosher, and that means no dairy, thus no cheese. But man, you don't need cheese. The smoked meat, basically brisket, is AMAZING, and you don't need anything else with it, not even mustard. I got the smoked meat sandwich, which is served hot, on light rye, with yellow mustard on it already. Sides are extra, so I got a pickle and some fries.

The bill was a whopping 9 Canadian dollars. A true bargain....but lets go back to the Schwartz's experience.
My server was Alex, a young guy, probably about 25 I'd say. He was the low man on the deli circuit.
Counter guy #1: "Alex, wake up"
Alex: "What do you mean, wake up? I'm up!!!"
Counter guy #2: "Alex, count the bread we have left"
Alex, after counting 2X: "72, we have 72"
Counter guy #3: "Alex, put 4 half sours in a bag for me"
Well, I found Alex to be a good server. He pushed some sides on me, thus the pickle and fries.
"No slaw" he asked. No slaw, I answered. But it did look good. No mayo on the slaw. Probably vinegar based.
The smoked meat was sensational. It was flakey and moist and with just the right amount of fat. By the way, you get to pick your level of fat - I had the medium amount; you can pick heavy or lean as well (lean = why bother???) The meat was bright pink, with a nice crust to it. Some of the more well done pieces flaked apart into little chips. The bread was perfect, having been just sliced from the loaf. The fries also were just right. They were little, crispy fries, which I salted up. At one point I had to say to myself, Sharon, stop eating the fries or else you are going to explode. In fact, I think I said that to myself more than once as I continued to eat and eat until I had eaten just about everything I was served.
My good friend Scott told me about the Karnatzel, basically Pepperoni, that they make and sell. The Karnatzel are shaped in long, thin, cylinders, bent into a half circle, about 12 inches long. I told him I'd get some to bring home. Alex had already given me my bill when I asked him, how can I get some Karnatzel??
Alex: "You want Karnatzel? How many?"
Me: "How about 3"
Alex: "3? OK"
Me: "Do you wrap them up special to go"?
Alex: "Special? No. We wrap them up regular"
Ok then! I got my 3 Karnatzel, wrapped up regular, to go, and paid my bill.
It was a great experience, and I left there not caring that the button on my pants was about to pop off!!!! I will make it a point to try to eat there on any return trip to the area that I make.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger anne altman said...

cool! un rat noye! kosher, guess no petit cochon, n'est pas?

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Barry said...

Schwartz's is "Kosher style", not Kosher. Smoked Meat is the best in the world. I'm an ex-Montrealer living in California. Wish they had smoked meat here. Only corned beef or pastrami.


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