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Jun 7, 2008 04:55 PM

new deli at College & Clinton

Anyone catch this article in the Globe today?

It seems real smoked meat may be a reality here in downtown toronto! Caplansky's is opening this week in the Monarch tavern.

You can read more and see menu at the author's blog,

Can't wait to check this place out.

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  1. I know the owner of the bar, so I'm going to get the lowdown on the what, the how and the when from him. The G&M article didn't really give an idea of menu or pricing. I'll post the info when I get it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: escoffier

      The author's blog I also linked to has the menu with prices. Very reasonable. Let's hope it tastes good.

      1. re: num nums

        So many posts on this board about the dearth of good Jewish deli in TO and its complete absence downtown. Now, a G&M article on a new Jewish deli at College and Clinton claiming homemade, hand cut smoked meat, and only two small posts on C'Hound. Bizarre.

        1. re: acd123

          Not really. The place hasn't opened yet. I believe it's tomorrow.

          1. re: embee

            And just in time for Euro Cup. It'll be a nice change from the veal, the pizza and the panzo's from the hood. It's a really great spot to watch games, good sight lines, decent draught and bottled beer selection and some real characters at the bar.

    2. It's in an area I'd probably never visit, thats why I'm not really enthusiastic about it.

      Maybe I'll drive way out of my way to try it one day, but I can't imagine being a regular customer due to its location

      1. After giving this more thought, you know what WOULD make me want to drive out of my way to go there would be some authentic Montreal poutine

        After being tremendously unsuccessful finding any good poutine in Toronto (the blue truck at city hall is shredded cheese) I would definitely go if they sold it

        1 Reply
        1. re: duckdown

          Yeah, I love good Mtl poutine too, but I think this place should focus on the smoked meat.

        2. I moved to TO in the early 80's and have fond memories of eating great Jewish food on Spadina. Can't wait for this place to open and I plan to be a regular! What's not to love, good food, cold beer, the game on tv! Let's all support this guy and go spend our money at his place.

          8 Replies
          1. re: stapler

            How can you plan to be a regular if you haven't tried the food yet?

            1. re: TorontoJo

              Yup, if the smoked meat sucks, it will be disappointing but par for the course. I will continue to make the trek to the nether regions of the GTA for Centre St. Deli, or if I want really good stuff, wait for my once-a-year weekend in Montreal for Schwartz's.

            2. re: stapler

              I hope, touch wood, that I'll want to be a regular. But first I've got to taste it! There's no guarantee that it will taste good.

              He may have done a few things right. By leasing (I'm assuming) a kitchen at a bar, he doesn't need to pay off the huge upfront cost of opening a resto. That could be a reasonable cushion. His menu is so small that there's no excuse for him to not do it all well. He's not trying to offer "something for everyone", like the once decent Pickle Barrel.

              OTOH, the location is, itself, problematic. I haven't been to the Monarch for many years. (I used to grab a San Francesco sandwich and eat it at the Monarch about 35 years ago.) It may have changed, but plenty of deli mavens wouldn't go there on a bet.

              Parking, or even stopping, in that neighbourhood is horrific and, at times, impossible. The Brown Derby, one of the best Montreal delis at the time, opened at Yonge and St Clair almost thirty years ago. Unfortunately, parking was impossible. Once the Montreal expats had paid their respects, business beyond office lunch hour dropped to nothing (the place was great) and they failed quickly.

              It's also not clear whether he'll be selling meat by the pound. Assuming it's good, that's how I'll get my supply. But, at that location, there's little chance of it becoming a go-to place except to satisfy a daytime craving.

              I wish him great success. I'll find out for myself in about an hour.

              1. re: embee

                Very very curious to hear your review of the smoked meat - been waiting for you to chime in. If it's half as good as Schwartz's I'll be heading there tomorrow.

                1. re: childofthestorm

                  Just got back from my meal at Caplansky's and had a good chat with Zane, who's a wonderful guy. He sold out all his smoked meat before 8 pm on this, the opening day. He's buying his brisket at the legendary Grace Meat Market, curing it with his own spice recipe and smoking it on-site in his wood smoker.

                  The sandwich was wonderful, in a rustic/classic way. The hand-cut meat was actually streaked because of the very basic, hand-made methods: part red and part brown. Some may quibble that they'd want a more consistent cure and maybe with time it will evolve, but I love it as served. The main taste note is smoke, followed by the spices, rather than salt. Very tender and fragrant meat. I asked for medium fat and got slices that included a flavourful burst of spice-studded fat.

                  It's not quite Schwartz's but it's in the spirit of Schwartz's.... a very long way from the processed, salt-and-nitrate pink blah that passes for smoked meat in most Toronto places. I would rank it above Centre St and Katz's, etc. (others may disagree).

                  The sandwiches aren't huge but they're definitely filling. The sandwich, fries and the included pickle was $11.60. (Decent enough fries, again not quite Schwartz's). The pickle had the hoped-for authentic flavour, but was on the small side. I hope Zane branches into those wonderful, chubby, sour monsters that Montreal loves, and charges a few bucks for them as a side!

                  This is a very chow-ish place, I hope people will give it a try. It made the old Monarch an ever nicer, authentic kind of joint. (The draft Steam Whistle I had went down great with the sandwich).

                2. re: embee

                  Blech, so parking around there is a nightmare? Thats what I feared.

                  If parking isn't an easy thing to do around there then I'll never be visiting there at all. I drive out of my way for "chow worthy" eats all the time, and I certainly live nowhere near this unless theres some kind of half-decent parking accomodations I'll have to pass

                  Thanks for the info though

                  1. re: duckdown

                    Parking is not that hard at all around there, typically the side streets you need a residential permit to park there between midnight to 7 am, otherwise it's all fair game. You will for sure find parking on Clinton, Grace, or Manning, never mind paid parking on Bloor.

                    Come on people, us downtown types will drive out to Markham for Chinese or Brampton for Indian - the least you can do is circle to the block a few times for a good smoked meat sandwich (which I sincerely hope it is).

                    1. re: childofthestorm

                      There's a green P garage and lot on Clinton just north of College if you don't mind paying.

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