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Schwartz's vs. Dunn's

In town for my older daughter's soccer tournament, my wife and I tried out both
Schwartz's and Dunn's for smoked meat. (I used to be a Ben's fanatic, but it's
gone, of course.)

After a long day in the hot sun, the wife and I fell asleep in our room while dear
daughter went out for dinner with her team. We awoke at 10:30 pm, and decided
to try Schwartz's, which we had heard of many times (I am an ex-Montrealer, living
in Toronto for many years) but never tried.

My wife was taken aback when she saw the interior but it didn't bother me; in
Toronto, I've been known to eat at the Vesta Lunch and the late Canary, so I
don't need fancy seating or pretty paint to mask the food.

That said, I was not at all impressed with the sandwich. The slaw was fine, the
dill pickle was good, but the smoked meat, while it had an intense flavour, was
dry and stringy. My wife said that Katz's in Toronto was better (and I've always
thought Katz's was mediocre compared to Ben's).

Today (Sunday), we headed to Dunn's at Metcalfe and St. Catherine for lunch.
For the sake of comparison, my wife has the smoked meat sandwich; I go for
a Reuben. We both agree Dunn's is the best we've had; much juicier and tastier,
with a texture that lets you know you're eating meat, but not beef jerky. Slaw and
dills were fine; nothing to choose between Schwarzt's and Dunn's there.

Yes, Dunn's has more on the menu, but I don't think it's fair to compare dishes
that one offers that the other doesn't (and I'm basing my smoked meat comparison
on part of my Reuben where I took off the kraut and cheese, and just ate the
meat on its own). We'll definitely go back to Dunn's; Schwartz's, not so much...

KevinB

PS To be scrupulously honest, my wife ordered the Dunn's cheesecake for dessert,
and wasn't too impressed with it. With the kids, we shared a basic poutine, which
tasted like the entire salt shaker had been mixed in with it.

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    1. "the smoked meat, while it had an intense flavour, was dry and stringy"

      Did you ask for medium or medium fat when you ordered?

      Of course, if Ben's is your benchmark, Dunn's might well come off better than Schwartz's.

      3 Replies
      1. re: carswell

        To be fair, we didn't ask for medium fat, but the waiter didn't offer the choice, either. At Dunn's, the first thing the waitress asked when my wife ordered the smoked meat was "Lean or medium?".

        And to tell the truth, Ben's was my fave because it was my dad's fave, and he took me there many times as a kid, so there's a certain nostalgia thing going on there...

        1. re: KevinB

          this is like go to chili's for fajitas when you're in san antonio

          1. re: celfie

            Lol. My thoughts exactly - or like preferring 50 over a St Ambroise pale ale because that's what your old man liked. Glad I read the comments before the OP, saved me alot of time.

      2. When did you last eat smoked meat at Ben's? In its heyday, their smoked meat might of been very good. I have never eaten good smoked meat at Ben's(based on two or three visits & I only go back to the mid-80's there(last time maybe 6-7 years ago)). It might of been the worst smoked meat I've eaten of the major Montreal smoked meat delis.

        I've had very good smoked meat in Dunn's Famous on Metcalfe most times(occasionally they have been sub-par). Not often, but I've had dry & stringy smoked meat from Schwartz's(I always order mine medium-fat).

        1. Montrealers lets rank the smoked meat

          Schwarts
          Abies
          Georges
          The Main
          Smoked meat Peats
          Duns
          Smokeys
          Bens (how it was)

          I noticed sandwiches vary at all of the above it seems you never know what your going to get...

          The most consistent sandwich and plate has been at Smokeys..
          After asking the manager the difference in the recipe between Smokeys and Schwartz it is the dry cure time.

          So give it a try Smokeys Marche Central you will find it a bit better...

          They are all good
          But
          Bens was chewy pastrami
          Abies does not have enough Pepper
          The Main Has tones of Pepper if thats what you would like..

          PS: The main has the Best Smoked Chicken.
          If you can get it before it is put in the fridge get at least two!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Lornek

            You're missing Le Roi Du Smoked Meat, Lesters, Snowdon Deli, Delibee's, Quebec Smoked Meat, Chenoys, Felix Mish, Zytynsky's, Jarry Smoked Meat, Brisket's, Charcuterie Lina, Charcuterie Monk and Charcuterie de Tours.

            Also Smokey's is now a Dunn's.

            1. re: EaterBob

              OK
              Dunn's
              DeliBoys
              Deli Bees
              Lesters
              Snowdon Deli
              Schwartz
              Quebec Smoked Meat
              Chenoys
              Felix Mish
              Jarry Smoked Meat
              Zytynsky;s
              Briskets
              Charcuterie Lina
              Charcuterie Monk
              Charcuterie de Tours
              Nickels
              Abes
              George
              Smoked Meat Petes
              Shwartz
              The Main
              Sloveinia
              Please add There is a great one on st-catherine too..

              I like them all except the coorshe meat yach it is like paint
              Nickels uses it I think Chenoys too..

            2. OK
              Dunn's
              DeliBoys
              Deli Bees
              Lesters
              Snowdon Deli
              Schwartz
              Quebec Smoked Meat
              Chenoys
              Felix Mish
              Jarry Smoked Meat
              Zytynsky;s
              Briskets
              Charcuterie Lina
              Charcuterie Monk
              Charcuterie de Tours
              Nickels
              Abes
              George
              Smoked Meat Petes
              Shwartz
              The Main
              Sloveinia
              Rubens
              Bell Province

              The best way to compare is to buy a pound hot with hlf a loaf of bread; Sanwiches vary in size and quality so much..

              My Peave is Coorshe Its Pastramy with some sor of paint thinner in it; It is nasty!! I think Nickels uses that stuff..

              Any corrections additions or coments are cool!!