Date Visited: Late night meal on Friday Aug 1, 2013
Company: First stop after arriving Montreal with +Elliott
I had visited the infamous Schwartz's once before, about 3 years ago visiting Montreal from Ottawa with some friends I met on co-op. The line was huge to get in and a camera was filming two guys sitting at the counter in this small, packed deli. I just remember that it was the (first, I think, and) best smoked-meat sandwich I had ever had. It was so simple: rye bread, meat, and mustard, but it was so mind-blowingly delicious. Is this what all smoked meat tasted like and I've just been missing out on it all my life?
3 years later and since then, I had smoked meat once again from the Eaton Centre but it was the worst sandwich I'd ever had. So upon my arrival into Montreal on the VIA train on Thursday night for the Osheaga long weekend, +Elliott and I met up and he wanted to go to Schwartz's! He'd never been because of the line but hoped that there would be none this late. We walked there and saw a group standing outside of it. The owner quickly came out and seated them though and we were next. It was still busy, but a few seats were empty!
The place is quite small and the right half of the store is completely for the kitchen where they prepare the food and you can see stacks of smoked beef on the counters. The other half is rows of tables and you'd usually end up sitting beside a stranger if you're in a small group. There's a menu on two sides of the walls but we also got ones to look at at the table where they came and took our order. We of course went for the Smoked Meat Sandwich and also got sides of Pickle and Coleslaw. Something new since I'd been there last is that the waiter asks you if you want Lean, Medium, or Fatty meat. I went for the lean trying to be healthy...
+Elliott and I both regretted our lean meat decisions because it very dry and not as flavourful. We tried to add more mustard to help it but it didn't really, the bread had more moisture than the beef. It was still excellent smoked meat but wasn't to my preference and I was pretty disappointed especially after my amazing first visit (hopefully it's not one of those 'never as good as the first time' cases). The Pickle, I find is something a lot of people order but I found it watery and wasn't as full of flavour as I'd expected. The Coleslaw on the other hand was some of the best I've had. The flavour was bold and it was so simply made.
Food: 4/5 - Giving the benefit of the doubt here because my instinct is that my first meal here was excellent (not a pigment of my imagination) despite the downfalls of this last visit.
Decor: 2/5 - Awesome old school decor all around, but way too cramped!
Service: 4/5 - Fast service and owners just seem like awesome guys.
Willingness to come back: 3/5 - I don't think I'd wait in a line here but I'd definitely go again if I could just walk in.