We recently made an excursion to Montreal to see L’s other kiddo in his natural habitat (since he always heads our way. Well, at least since I’ve known him!) and naturally in the course of a visit, one must eat, so we decided to hit up a legend in the smoked meat world: Schwartz’s! (when in Montreal, eat Montreal smoked meat… it’s a no brainer, though hometown Montrealer and vegetarian kid had never partaken before, and decided it was time to take the plunge and try a bit. That’s the power of the Schwartz!) We made our way there on a Saturday just before noon and stood behind a few people outside (it was a beautiful day… finally!) waiting to get in. I was kind of surprised, as this place is the place to visit. Where were the masses I expected to see??? Is this place not all it’s cracked up to be?
So about 10 minutes later at the most we were led into the very small and very full restaurant, sporting decor that would support the claim of 80 years in business. Plain, not modern, but clean, and gets the job done of serving people well, and fast. As our table had 6 seats (most did) another couple was tagged onto the end, unexpected, but that’s how it works there, they fill every last seat and it isn’t designed for the leisurely or those who need their “space”. Server arrived with pad, pen and waited for someone to say something! My mouth opened, but I didn’t know what to order, I just knew there were terms for what to get and I had forgotten what they were. During the awkward pause he asked us if it was our first time. YES!!!! So he explained that you order a sandwich lean, medium or fatty and that medium was most popular. You also had to have the black cherry soda (kiddos did, we had our usual soda soda haha) and of course had to have the fresh cut fries… and he told us we were getting a pickle… and a coleslaw! It was funny to be told what we were ordering, but that’s part of the pageantry I think.
Food arrived fairly quickly and looked delicious (FYI there is no spicy mustard, just mustard. What would you want to screw it up with spicy mustard for, which I wanted to, but now understand why they don’t carry it.) Now I have had lots of pastrami and smoked meat sandwiches in my day, but truly nothing compares to this meat. It was rich and flavourful and, well, greasy isn’t the word, but it has a fatty taste (a good one!) that makes you instantly realize that the stuff you’ve eaten your entire life is now going to taste like crap! And what needs to be said about fresh cut fries, they are a wonderful treat as always and attempting to fool yourself into thinking you will just split an order is really just a big unnecessary lie that will only last until the plate is approximately half empty. One more order please. Pickle: top notch. Coleslaw: good, but was not the star of their menu.
Devouring took very little time, and we left feeling happy to have made it to another food adventure on our list, full of deliciousness…. AND GRATEFUL WE SHOWED UP WHEN WE DID! Now there were the masses I was expecting to see, waiting outside, saying with their eyes: hey, another table just opened up! Only 45 more minutes to wait now! The early superfoodie catches the smoked meat!