Montreal is the culinary capital of Canada. From Joe Beef, which is known for serving steaks and seafood in an intimate setting, to Patisserie Rhubarbe, which sets hearts aglow with their adventurous, and often acidic desserts, Montreal’s culinary scene delivers on all fronts.
But when we think of the quintessential Montreal meal, we think of Schwartz's.
Schwartz’s Deli is a Montreal staple that's been serving smoked meat since 1928.
Schwartz's signature sandwiches are simple. Fatty stacks of juicy smoked meat, piled high on rye bread caressed with the lightest slathering of yellow mustard. A classic dill pickle alongside brings the acidity we crave.
The sandwich, with the pickle, and a can of Cott's Black Cherry Cola lets you know you’ve arrived in la belle province's greatest city.
But do not let a simple composition fool you. Smoked meat sandwiches are serious business, and Schwartz’s protects their golden child with rigorous training.
In order to cut the smoked meat, you need 3 or more years of experience working at Schwartz’s. “You can become a lawyer faster than that, I’m pretty sure,” a server joked with me after I asked him about the cutting process.
A precise cut is the difference between bliss and biting into an uncomfortable amount of smoked meat.
Do not overlook the subtlety and intention that rests beneath the bustle of this Montreal staple—always remember the emotion and care behind this simple smoked meat sandwich.