Just a quick note. While you have been talking about it, I just back from a short visit to Montreal and Quebec where I have been eating it.
I sampled old fashioned smoked meat sandwiches at Snowdon Del, Schwartz's, and also bought some take-out old fashioned smoked meat from Schwartz's and the competition directly across the street for those fed up with the long-lines at lunch, the Main.
In brief in Montreal, Schwartz's remains the best, the Main is certainly respectable, though not as good. Snowdon Del, which I have long enjoyed since it is convenient to the family, is, for smoked meat, a distant competitor. Better than Ben's to be sure, which has the oldest smoked meat in Montreal and sure tastes like it.
Snowdon Del stopped smoking their own briskets about 10 to 15 years ago so the current manager of this family business, Jon Marantz, told me. They now use Lester's Old Fashioned smoked meat which he claims is made according to their distinct specifications!! He also insisted that their Lester version of the meat differs significantly from what Lester's normally makes. Just reporting what I have been told. I can offer no independent assessment of this at this moment. It will have to wait till my next trip.
Snowdon Del does have great smoked eggplant salad and good chopped liver with killer sauted onions.
After I recover from all this and other eating, I will post my asssessments of the Mtl old fashioned smoked meat I had. Unfortunately it has been too many years since I ate my last pastrami at Katz's and I have never eaten it regularly enough to form a clear basis for a trusty comparison so I can't join that fray.
I do have other classic pastrami sandwiches clearly preserved in my taste buds. The best of these -- unfortunately long-gone -- was the great thick hand-cut Rumanian hot pastrami sandwich made by Elsie Bauman and her husband -- two German Jewish refugees who after the Second World War established Elsie's in Harvard Square. Schwartz's is a spicier, albeit slightly tougher version, of that sandwich. However neither the bread nor the mustard is as good as what Elsie offered. Unfortunately Elsie's has been out of business for close to 20 or 30 years. And even before the deli finally closed, they stopped making my favorite sandwich.
Edited by VivreManger, 08 July 2003 - 09:31 AM.