When you first walk into Schwartz's Hebrew Delicatessen you can easily tell this place hasn’t changed much since first opening its doors in 1928. And that’s not a bad thing at all. The deli is long and narrow, with stool seating on the right side and table seating to the left. It’s a very busy spot which means you’ll most likely be cozying up next to a complete stranger while you eat your meal. But don’t let this scare you – it’s one of the best smoked meat sandwiches you’ll ever taste in your life.
As I’m following our waiter the short walk to our seats, the smell of peppered meat lingers in the air equally occupied by the noisy chat of eaters. When I sat down I knew exactly what I wanted but didn’t know much about the different types. My waiter somehow knew it wasn’t my first time here – maybe it was my puzzled look while my eyes searched for an empty seat – and asked if I wanted my smoked meat sandwich either lean, medium or fatty. Happily I order medium.
Waiting for my meal I was thinking back to some of the reviews I read about Schwart’z and the many complaint’s taking up space on websites. However, I had nothing but the good service. The waiters were friendly and funny, very helpful in selecting a sandwich and made us feel comfortable in the cramped joint. I do recognize however this type of experience isn’t for everyone – I just recommend trying it at least once before shrugging it off.
The sandwich arrives and it looks so glorious I almost don’t want to eat it – that’s at least until I rip a tender piece of the smoked meat off the edges and try it. The meat is stacked about four times bigger than the mustard smeared bread. The slight bit of fat riddled through the brisket shavings is great – giving it that extra flavour you expect. It’s a great size. Try it with a pickle and maybe some fries, and you’ll be stuffed. For people who like more fat, I would definitely recommend the fatty serving – the meat and fat would melt like butter in your mouth.
There’s not a whole lot more I can really say about this place. If you’re craving a smoked meat sandwich and you happen to be in Montreal, get down to Schwartz’s – you won’t be disappointed.