My wife J is a manufacturer's rep. She sells women's apparel to boutiques throughout New England and one of the companies that she represents has offices in Montreal, Canada. Back in July, this company had some sales meetings, so I went along for the ride. Actually I did most of the driving, but you know what I mean.
At the end of the first day, I met J back at the office after I spent my day exploring Montreal. We asked around the office for some dining recommendations and were told that we had to go to Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen for a smoked meat sandwich. What is a smoked meat sandwich? Well, it's a smoked brisket that has been marinated in a secret spice blend for 10 days. It's kind of like a cross between corned beef and pastrami. Basically, it's a meat lovers dream on rye with mustard. The meat is unbelievably tender, teeth are only required to chew through the crust of the bread. It's also well-seasoned and due to the very mild smoke flavor, probably smoked with either sugar maple or a fruit wood like apple or cherry. This was the best smoked meat sandwich I've ever had. Okay, so it's the only Montreal smoked meat sandwich I've ever had, but let me tell you it was outstanding.
As for the restaurant itself, if you're lucky enough to time your visit there will be no waiting line outside (fat chance) and as you approach the front window, you'll see all the smoked briskets and some roasted chickens resting there. Be prepared to wait a while, J and I waited outside, in the rain, for forty minutes at like 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Trust me though, the sandwich is worth the wait.
"The restaurant is a single white-tiled room containing several rows of long narrow tables." You don't actually get your own table here. The "long narrow tables" are basically banquet tables, and unless you are a group of six or eight, you'll be sharing your table with strangers. Be friendly and talk to them, but don't share your sandwich!
Schwartz's has other items on the menu, rumor has it they make a good steak, but you should really go for their famous smoked meat sandwiches. I had mine with a side of fries and some 1/2 sour pickles. If I make back there again, I'll be getting another smoked meat sandwich. Bon appétit!
Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
Tel.: (514) 842-4813
Fax: (514) 842-0800
Images are "courtesy" of http://www.schwartzsdeli.com