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Sep 2, 2008 04:58 PM

Best Montreal smoked meat in NYC?

This may be a weird question, but I'm craving Montreal-style smoked meat a la Schwartz's. I just moved to NYC (from Toronto) and have been drawing blanks for searches for "best smoked meat sandwich." Lots of mentions of pastrami sandwiches, but then again, aren't they a different animal altogether?

How did you satisfy your Montreal smoked meat craving while in NYC? Other than hopping on a bus...

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  1. Go to Katz's. Get yourself a pastrami sandwich and next time you are in Montreal that's what you'll be craving while eating at Schwartzs..

    A different animal indeed - thoroughbred vs. pony

    Katz's Delicatessen
    205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

    1 Reply
    1. re: harrison

      Here we go again. And don't forget to mention how bad our bagels are in Montreal. ;-)

      Different strokes for different folks my friend.

    2. I have had the smoked meat at Schwartz's. Yes, it is quite different from pastrami. You will not find Montreal-style smoke meat in NYC, so try the pastrami at Katz's or Sarge's. If it doesn't satisfy you, then you will have to hop that bus....

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR

        If asked Sarge's will hand-cut a fresh hot pastrami for your sandwich. Also my favorite cole slaw on the planet, nice people as well.

        Sarge's Delicatessen
        548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

      2. I live just south of Montreal and often times stop in at Schwartz's.
        We made a stop at Katz awhile back - sure is dripping with old school vibe and the sandwich was pretty good.
        However, the price is outrageous. At $24 for a sandwich, fries, and a coke, you're no longer at a deli, but rather Disney World.
        I'm sorry, although good, not worth the price.

        I made my stop, saw, ate, but won't be returning. There have to be delis offering similar sandwiches at reasonable prices...

        1 Reply
        1. re: porker

          more reasonable? plenty.

          similar? um, nope.

          if the smoked meat craving gets to be overwhelming, harrington's in vermont does mail order -- pre-packaged, sliced, and pretty good. not schwartz's, but not bad.

        2. Thanks for the replies, and opinions! I've heard (and have been reading) about Katz, but being a starving grad student, I'm not sure I can afford their prices. $14.95 for a sandwich... ouch. I'll save up and when the craving gets too bad I'll give it a go and repost. I also passed by "Sarge's" the other day -- they looked OK. I'm assuming a brisket sandwich is the NY translation of a smoked meat sandwich -- ? I'd rather avoid the pastrami, I can't say I'm a fan.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cdnexpat

            The sandwiches at Katz are really huge. One sandwich is at least 2 meals. If you think of it that way the price isn't so bad. But if you're not a fan of pastrami, Katz may not be for you. I haven't had the other stuff though. So you may want to try it.

            btw, I love Schwartz's and agree there's nothing like it in NYC.

            1. re: cdnexpat

              Brisket is the cut, but the cooking style is pot roast. Corned Beef is the same cut brined before steamed or boiled, and pastrami has the coat of seasonings before steaming

              1. re: cdnexpat

                Get the "three meat platter" and make your own sandwiches with a couple of friends... cheapest way to go at Katz's.

              2. At least we have 2 things in Montreal that are better than in New York....the smoked meat and the bagels! What is with the bagels in NY? I thought that because there was a large Jewish community that I would find comparable bagels but I only found the big industrial kind. Maybe I did not go to the right places?

                I also went to Kat's and even if the pastrami was good, it is not as good as Montreal's smoked meat. Another question I have....why isn't there smoked meat like Montreal's anywhere else in the United States?

                4 Replies
                1. re: cricri7

                  Just saw this question now: I still haven't gone to Katz's yet (will do it, just generally busy); as for the equivalent to Montreal, I had some amazing smoked brisket sandwiches in Cincinnati, OH over Christmas. I'm sure Kentucky's just as good, if not better. Posting here:

                  1. re: cricri7

                    You can get good mini-bagels at Absolute, on Broadway near 107 St. I've never had smoked meat in Montreal, so I can't comment about that, but I love Katz's!

                    Absolute Bagels
                    2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

                    1. re: cricri7

                      Good bagels in New York aren't widely available. You have to know where to go. I like Daniel's Bagels on 3rd ave between 37th and 38th Street. They aren't the big industrial kind and they have a special taste. The explanation for good New York bagels and pizza has often been the very good quality of the water. Montreal's water source may explain any unique taste of its bagels.

                      I remember that Montreal has bagels with big holes. I'm not sure that anyplace in New York has exactly that. There are places with bagels that aren't gigantic lumps of bread. Daniels' bagels aren't THAT big.

                      Why isn't smoked meat in the rest of the US? Katz quality pastrami isn't in the rest of the US either. Both are local specialties. Is there smoked meat in other parts of Canada? New York doesn't have poutine either.

                      Daniel's Bagels
                      569 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                      1. re: cricri7

                        I went to Fairmount Bagels in Montreal, supposedly the gold standard, and was distinctly unimpressed. The dough is SWEET! How are you supposed to put lox and capers on a sweet base? Meh. We bought half a dozen bagels and ended up throwing half of them out.

                        There are a lot of bad bagels in NY, it is true, but there are also stupendously good bagels if you go to the right place. I prefer Murray's and Ess-a-Bagel, but to each her own.

                        359 1st Ave, New York, NY 10010

                        Murray's Bagels
                        242 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                        Murray's Bagels
                        500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011