Monday, October 13, 2008

Schwartz's Charcuterie Hebraïque de Montréal

Though I wasn't aware of this until reading my guidebook before leaving for Montréal, the city is apparently world-renowned for its smoked meat sandwiches. The place to experience this at its best is Schwartz's Charcuterie Hebraïque, or Hebrew Deli. Opened in 1928 by a Jewish immigrant from Romania, even today people line up outside at lunchtime for a simple sandwich with french fries and a dill pickle.

Walking up St. Laurent and seeing a line ahead of us, we know we had reached our destination. Thanks to the help of a homeless man, we were informed that one line was for take-out and the other for eating in. We decided to eat in, and though maybe 15 people back, we were seated within 10 or 15 minutes.

The restaurant's interior was pretty much like that of your typical diner, with a long counter and communal tables along the other side. Pictures of celebrities who had eaten there, including Quebec native Celine Dion, lined the walls. We were seated next to another two couples, though aside from asking if they wanted ketchup we didn't engage in conversation.

Chris and I kept it simple and each ordered a smoked meat sandwich (viande fumée) with mustard, french fries, and a pickle. Upon tasting the fries Chris commented, "they taste like potatoes" which I suppose doesn't say much for today's mass produced variety. They fries were potatoe-y, indeed, and were nice and crispy. The pickle was delicious - nice and plump and just salty enough.

The smoked meat was excellent as well, and they certainly don't skimp on the meat. It was very flavorful without being too fatty, as sometimes corned beef and pastrami can be, in my opinion.

Aside from the smoked meat sandwiches, other options include veal, salami, and stuffed chicken, as well as steaks. Coleslaw, olives, and peppers are among the other sides. So next time you're in Montréal and looking for a good deli-style lunch, look no further than Schwartz's!
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Schwartz's World Famous Smoked Meat on Urbanspoon

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