A visit to Montreal would be incomplete without a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's.  On Saturdays the line -- at times half an hour or more -- can be pretty intimidating, but it's worth it.  There are few ways to fight off the Canadian winter as effective as a hot smoked meat sandwich on an icy-cold day.  It's time to step into Schwartz's, the tiny but immensly popular deli on Montreal's Boulevard Saint-Laurent.

This is undoubtedly the juiciest smoked meat sandwich I've ever tasted.  Unlike corned beef, the meat is smoked.  It's similar to pastrami but the spice blend is unique.  The meat here is so moist I wanted to squeeze out the juice like a sponge dipped in gravy.  The smoked meat sandwich, Schwartz's house speciality, is a generous mound of warm meat resting between two fat slices of rye each swiped with a thin layer of French's yellow mustard.  The mustard's light acidity and short-lived spice cuts right through the meat's fatty mouthfeel leaving behind a really pleasant texture.

The dry-cured meat, generously rubbed in coriander, allspice, salt, pepper, and other "secret spices" is smoked fresh daily after being marinated for ten days.  The meat is hot all day since its density locks in the heat and moisture for hours.  The flavor is peppery with a subtle sweetness that develops from the curing process.  Extra fat is absorbed by the bread, almost like the hand of god covertly spread butter on each slice when I wasn't looking.

Frankly, this was the first time I enjoyed a smoked meat sandwich.  All too often the meat is over-salted, cold, and dry forcing me to take each bite with a giant sip of water.  Here meat was so rife with moisture the stack of napkins became my best friend.  Surprisingly after this fatty sandwich I still felt great.  The portioning of the meat was generous but the sandwich not overstuffed, the bread thick, but light and airy.  The late-night hours, open until 2:30am, make this the perfect destination for a snack or light meal at just about anytime.

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