Caplansky's - almost good enough to satisfy my Schwartz's cravings + photos
OK, so I am a huge Schwartz's delicatessen fan. Have been, always will be. Nothing can compare (in my eyes) to a full-fat smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's. Of course, there are many schools of thought on smoked meats - Reuben's, Dunn's and others in Montreal - but for me, there is only one pit stop in Montreal for my smoked meat fix - Schwartz's.
However, I seldom get the opportunity to make it all the way out there, and have resorted to depriving myself of sweet, succulent, fatty meat for a year at a time (though I usually get 2-3 lbs of the extra-fatty good-stuff as takeout to put in the fridge/freezer for noshing on in T.O.). That is, until some kindly CHers suggested Caplansky's.
Though I would be lying if I said it was as good as Schwartz's, I think it is good enough to be my substitute in Toronto (when I run out of the real goods). The meat is sweet, and exceptionally moist - especially for a smoked meat sandwich. It has a very pungent smokey flavour. Not as great a 'spicing' as Schwartz's surrounding it. The fatty version, though, is not anything like Schwartz's - there it is well incorporated into the meat and you don't taste the fat, it merely enhances the flavour of the meat. Here, it's just plain ol' moist fat. It adds nothing much to the taste, IMO and is easily removed as it just rims the outside of the meat. I would recommend ordering the medium here. The borscht is another wonder. Great, large smoked meat chunks lend a smokey taste to the rich broth. A hearty soup that would be great on cold days. It is sweet from the abundance of vegetables whose scent and flavouring have permeated the soup. Fries? A hit again. Crisp, light and very potato-ey. You can judge from the photos for yourself. Also, the meal came with the best coleslaw I've ever had in a smoked meat joint - no trace of mayo. Just nicely vinegared crisp cabbage and carrots. So at around $12 + tip, you can treat yourself to a nice smoked meat sandwich combo, which is the best one I've tried outside of Montreal ($6 will net you the sandwich itself). An excellent find, in the second story of a seedy little bar near Little Italy.
Thanks for the tip, CHers.
Cheers and Happy Eating!
Combo with Fries: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2815216153/
A look at the meat itself: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2816066594/
Caplansky's Deli, 12 Clinton St., 416-500-3852, Tuesday to Saturday, noonish to 9 p.m. On the second floor of the Monarch Tavern (it's so easy to miss).
You are most welcome atomeyes. Hope it helps you make your menu choices.
duckdown - I went to Little Italy last weekend during the Fiera festival. During that time, they had whole porcetta, roasted corn, and many different street foods lining the sidewalks (even from vendors that did not have a restaurant - so I am not sure about where the corn and baklavas were from). Live music permeated the air as well. Beautiful day, beautiful weather, beautiful music, beautiful food. Quite a nice time just strolling the streets that day as it was not that busy at all. Topped it all off with a Caplansky's sandwich. Perfection.
Cheers and Happy Eating!