Saturday, April 23, 2011

Schwartz's Smoked Meat: Montreal's Culinary Treat

When asking around for suggestions for our must-do list for Montreal, several of my colleagues gave sage advice, offering vignettes about times spent in Quebec's largest city, especially focusing on Old Montreal (which, because of an aforementioned desire to be at Steve Hogarth's feet each night, we have left in play for next time). One individual, though, who is rarely anything but serious, offered but one emphatic three-word declaration upon my asking: "Schwartz's Smoked Meats."

"Excuse me?"

He repeated,"If you are going to Montreal, you must try Schwartz's Smoked Meats."

Armed with this info I went right to my computer and checked into the details. It turns out that "World Famous Schwartz's Deli" is "The oldest deli in Canada....a true Montreal landmark situated on the historic 'Main.'" I was game and was sure that Steve would be, too. I emailed him the link and we put it on top of our food list.

And for good reason. As I've stated before, "if you see a long line, get on it!" This was usually in reference to zai Zhongguo de fandian, but can be readily applied to Schwartz's. When we arrived, there was a line out the door. Even before we entered, you could smell the fragrant goodness of pickles, rye bread, and truly the most tender, delicious smoked meat we have ever eaten. I would like to describe it as a type of "spiced pastrami" because that is what it reminded me of, but I have no proof to back this up since it is touted simply as "smoked meat." (I even double-checked the website to see if there was a mention of exactly what we were eating).

Doesn't matter. In an atmosphere that felt like a throw-back to the 1950s (and it was real, not feigned!), we sat at a crowded table with French-speaking people who we did not know but who were enjoying the culinary delights as much as we were. Add in a waiter with a personality you would only find in the highest of quality delicatessens and patience of someone who deals with newbies every day, and you have put together one fine lunch.

This place is the real deal. (Thanks, Mr. Stein!)




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