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What's so great about Schwartz's?

At the risk of incurring the wrath of many Chowhounders, I feel compelled to ask this question.

I have tried smoked meat sandwiches at several Montreal places. I used to rather enjoy Ben's (now closed) and Reuben's, as well as Green Spot (near Atwater Market) and Nouveau Système (which is, in turn, near Green Spot). The few times that I tried Schwartz's, I didn't much care for it. Montrealers and Montreal aficionados think I'm nuts, but there you go. Am I the only one who feels this way?

By the way, on an unrelated note, does Reuben's still offer its amazing breakfast deal? It was the best deal going downtown when I lived in Montreal many, many moons ago.

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  1. Well, I'm not a Montrealer, but I have tried Schwartz's. I didn't understand what all the hype was either. Once we took them "to go" and the grease ran right through the paper wrapping and the paper bag -- and we ordered lean!
    I mean, it tastes fine -- maybe I'm spoiled living in the NJ/NY Metropolitan area where pastrami and corned beef abound, but (sorry 'hounds) I didn't see anything great about it, neither did my husband.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shopgirl

      For me, as much as I love the sandwiches (and I love them a lot) is the atmosphere. Ben's certainly didn't have it during its last years, but Schwartz's is always bustling and thats definitely part of the experience.

      and for th record, no matter where you go a lean smoke meat sandwich doesn't count as a smoke meat sandwich in my books.

    2. The flavour is in the fat. That said, although I have no problem with Schwartz's I prefer The Main which is across the street.

      1. I hate the atmosphere. I did have a smoked meat there many years ago, but since I'm not much of a red meat eater - and especially not non-organic beef - I don't quite "get" the great appeal. They certainly smoke their wares well - I love getting smoked poultry there, in particular to make a pork-free sauerkraut for non-pork eaters - but I get it to takeaway. I certainly wouldn't queue to eat there, but to each his and her own, eh?

        1. It's just good, I like it, not much more complicated than that.

          1. "Am I the only one who feels this way?"
            Nope, I am not into it either. I"ve had the medium fatty one and it still tastes dry and leathery to me, but the place has achieved cult-like status amongst many. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hungryann

              Yup, that's how I recall it: dry and not so tender. It's what I found most surprising about smoked meat at Schwartz's.