Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Smoked Meat - March Marathon


VivreManger
 Share

Recommended Posts

Last week I was in LA and managed half a pastrami at Langer's. I would have ordered the whole sandwich, but I had been to Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles for breakfast and that cramped my style, among other parts of my body.

Unfortunately my Katz's experience is decades old so that basis of comparison is denied me. However I will be in NY next month and hope to get downtown to try a pastrami sandwich. My more recent basis of comparison is Montreal smoked meat, with samples from Schwartz's, Snowdon Del and the Main, this past summer.

Langer's is much less spicy and tangy than Montreal meat, hardly a surprise. It was also noticably more tender. The overall taste was excellent. The meat was flavorful and moist.

As you may know in contrast to Katz's in NYC, Langer's does not have counter service, but I was able to make my preference for medium fatty, not Hollywood lean, made know through the waitress and the sandwich arrived as ordered.

Some claim that Langer's is the best in North America. I would not go there, but the rye bread is good -- better than the standard issue in Montreal. The mustard choices are better.

The ideal sandwich would be Montreal smoked meat spiciness with Langer's tender juiciness and superior accompaniments. On the other hand, the pickles are better in Montreal.

Next month, Katz's, God willing.

In March I am contemplating a smoked meat March madness marathon -- hitting all the major purveyors for a taste-out on and off the Main (Montreal talk for St. Lawrence). Anybody else interested? I would also like to try the new kid in town, Deli Cieux.

Do respond if anybody else is interested in a smoked meat crawl?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Going by memory, I believe Steven Shaw(FG) said Langer's in LA double steams their pastrami(same thing that Ben's Best in NYC claims). Meaning they both steam their pastrami approx. twice as long as the others. That would account for its tenderness.

BTW, I'm glad you ordered your pastrami medium-fat(always my preference for Montreal smoked meat, here in Montreal).

-Steve

The manner in which the meat is steamed and sliced is also critical. In one report I read about Langer's in LA, I recall one of the owners stating that one of their big trademarks is that they steam the meat for about twice as long as the average deli. This is no doubt going to produce a more tender, almost-falling-apart product.

edit: Just above is what Steven Shaw actually wrote

Edited by SteveW (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The detailed plan will depend on the March weather, but I have in mind a Saturday in mid to late March. Everything is to be old-fashioned of course. The following list is a bare minimum of four with others to be added as interest and expertise determine:

Schwartz's

The Main

Deli Cieux

in NDG

Snowdon Del

further afield, perhaps??,

Lester's, on rue Bernard, in Outremont, their standard issue and dry-aged

Smoked Meat Pete, opened on Ile Perrot, a few years back,

Abie's, on boulevard St-Jean, on the West Island.

Back in May, Jacob Richler did an article in the National Post sampling some, but not all of these, but his test was done with meat couriered and then warmed up in Toronto -- not I believe a true test. He is going to be back in Montreal in March and I am hoping to rope him into this venture as well.

Ben's should not even be imagined. It is out.

On the other hand if along the way we need a break, we could stop at Coco Rico for some chicken and we might need a few beers between sandwiches.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

in NDG

Snowdon Del

While I'm unsure as to exactly where the northern limit of NDG lies (my guess is Côte-Saint-Luc Road), the east side of Décarie between Queen Mary and Isabella is most assuredly several blocks north of it. And while you might take refuge in a technicality (since the recent municipal mergers, the area has been part of the unweildy Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough), Montrealers continue to refer to the SD's neighbourhood as Snowdon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, I stand corrected.  Snowdon it is.

Aw, shucks. And here I was marshalling my arguments...

One thing I've discovered in the last few minutes, though, is that it's surprisingly hard to find a map that shows the "city" limits of NDG. There's nothing especially useful on the Web. As I occasionally work for the city government, I have municipal directories of activiites and services going back to 1996, but even the premerger maps deliniate only the NDG-CDN "area" (shades of things to come). And I've not found a description of the boundries of either the former municipality of NDG or the parish. Most of the northern and eastern borders are clear, as they are defined by the surrounding former municipalities (now boroughs) of Côte-Saint-Luc and Hampstead to the north and Westmount to the east. The northeast corner, the Décarie corridor, is the problem.

Psychologically speaking, NDG stops at Côte-Saint-Luc Road for most Montrealers I know. One block north of CSL Road is Snowdon Street and just north of the corner of Snowdon and Décarie is the Snowdon post office. My detailed premerger map of Montreal and environs has the neighbourhood descriptor "Snowdon" printed just to the northeast of that (in smaller type than that used for the NDG and CDN descriptors, though; I don't believe Snowdon was ever a muncipality in its own right, unlike NDG and CDN). Yet the NDG municipal electoral district goes up the east side of Décarie all the way to Queen Mary (click here then click on the district map).

Municipal and historical society offices are closed for the holidays, so I probably won't be able to pursue this further until the new year. Maybe someone following our exchange will know and volunteer the information.

-carswell

PS I'd be willing to bet that, while you won't find spittle at Schwartz's on your smoked meat marathon, you may find spam at Déli cieux...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually I have just learned that Deli Cieux has closed. Details to follow.

So spam and spittle may very well be all that waits there.

As for the boundary question. My Montreal-born wife offers two names for the area where Snowdon Del is located. Either Snowdon or Decarie.

Queen Mary and Cte. St-Luc Blvd. are key dividers. In addition rhe Decarie Expressway has constructed a physical and psychological boundary, whatever else may exist in parish, municipal, and precinct records.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't bother with Lester's. It's in the neighbourhood, so I'll go there on occasion when I need a smoked meat fix and don't want to travel. Not bad but really not in the same league as Schwartz's or the Main. Now, I do remember having a really good smoked meat from some place in the Atwater market. Can't remember the name as I rarely go to Atwater, usually Jean Talon. I've always meant to go back and see if that smoked meat was all a dream...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess it's probably considered too far west to be convenient, but I just love the smoked meat at Smoked Meat Pete's in Ile Perrot. :smile:

It's very convenient with the car, as its just off the 40 West highway at the Ile Perrot exit.

-Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
As promised, in the Schwartz's, Langer's, Katz's, pastrami poll, my vote goes to Schwartz's. While it is not the most tender, it has the most taste.

Yesterday I ate at Katz's for the first time in nearly thirty years.

Any photos?

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry. I am digitally challenged, but verbally equal to the task of describing all three, which I will do when I can find the time.

Suffice it to say that Katz's looks good. It is a bigger sandwich than Langer's and probably Schwartz's as well. It is less expensive than Langer's and more expensive than Schwartz's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

the other day my friends brought me to georges smoke meat on saint martin, first time there ,to my suprise i got one of the best smoke meat sandwiches in my life,a touch better than schwartz.my friends told me he is ex employee of schwartz.

i have been going back everyday for a sandwich,i am hooked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

brought some friends from out of town to georges smoke meat.loyal schwartz fans , prefered georges to schwartz ,not only that they bought a couple of briskets for home.we talked to the owner and in fact he used to work at schwartz for years preparing the briskets.he now prepares them for himself.

you are wrong mr.steve this aint commercial stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look's like Deli Cieux, now closed, is off the list, and Georges gets added to the March Smoked Meat Marathon. Closer to the date we will have to confer on the list and logistics.

By the way did your brisket buying friends bring their meat to the States or keep it within Canada?

After the Canadian mad cow concern, US customs started cracking down on imported meat. Previously they seemed indifferent to the matter. Since the US developed its own mad cow problem -- allegedly with Canadian help -- I have not crossed the border so I don't know what is now on US customs hit list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Went to Georges deli Wednesday for their smoked meat, based on Dave's comments here. Their smoked meat that I tried was very good, just below IMO Snowdon deli & Schwartz's. But it does show some potential, that I will give them a try one or two more times in the coming weeks, before fully deciding how good it is. Got to add that the smoked meat that I had there, was expertly hand sliced(the slices were perfect). However it a bit of a misnomer, when they claim at the restaurant, that George 'with 30 years experience.' Georges deli has been opened for 5-6 years only. Previous to that he was at Schwartz's(not sure for how many years). Great find Dave. I didn't think they would make their own dry-cured smoked meat, because so few delis in Montreal still do it(Schwartz's, The Main, Abie's...& now Georges deli).

-Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...