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Disappointed with Caplansky's

I feel like the little boy pointing out the emperor has no clothes on, what with all the raving about Caplansky's smoked meat lately. I'm an ex-Montrealer, and I LOVE Schwartz's, and so far the only thing edible here has been Centre st. deli's smoked meat, but yes I realize it's Lester's, etc -it's just better than anything else.

Then Caplansky's arrived -probably the only one in the city actually smoking his own briskets. I've really wanted to like it, but just tried it a second time, and won't be returning. The first time, a couple of months ago, the sandwiches were too dry, but still tasty, and from all the Chowhounder's reports, it sounded like he's been tweaking and improving. So I went with my wife this past saturday with high hopes. This time the sandwich wasn't overly dry, but the SALT almost killed me! Both my wife and I found it incredibly salty, and I even gave the half sandwich we took home a try the next day (cold) - I ate it slowly, really trying to see if I'd been wrong, but no, it was salty in a strange kind of way.

On top of that, the cole slaw we got was almost inedible -it seemed the batch hadn't been stirred, or left to marinate, so there was so little dressing that it was like just eating raw shredded cabbage. Also, the fries were better than our first visit, but the kosher salt on it was overdone (and I like salt on fries!), so between that and the sandwich I felt I needed to stick my head in a bucket of water.

We tried the cabbage borscht, and I liked it, although there was almost no cabbage in it, and the broth didn't have the richness that it should.

Anyway, there's my rant - maybe we just got a bad batch, but have any other people found it unpleasantly salty??

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  1. FresserGuy, you'll find was discussed recently in this thread:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/549562

    1. FresserGuy,

      When I had my Caplansky's meal, I too found the meat to be a bit salty. I oftentimes find most cured meats to be too salty, as well as smoked meats. This one was a bit saltier than most, but it was still bearable as the fries were not oversalted, nor was the borscht that time.

      some photos to show the quality of the meal I had
      original post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/555111

      However, the fries were not over-salted (IMO) the time I had it. But I do find that consistency is key, and it appears that the batch you had may have just been below par - which is unfortunate and should be unacceptable at restaurants. Sorry to hear it was disappointing.

      Cheers and to Happy Future Eating

      1. I haven't noticed a salt problem, but it has cropped up in recent posts. I wonder about the curing, and whether it is 100% controlled. Zane stated, in a previuos post, the Butcher Shoppe is the source. They provide cured briskets (see their web site) which anyone can buy, spice, and smoke. It is possible there has been some irregularity in the curing, hence, over-salting for a particular batch. A temporary problem, easy to fix, and probably addressed already.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jayt90

          The briskets are cured in house. The only explanation I can surmise is that some are getting overcured. I haven't run into this problem, but it can certainly happen. It has happened on occasion with my own cured meats.

          Several different things can cause a given piece of meat to cure faster or slower than expected, or to cure unevenly. That's why injected chemical cures are so popular among meat processors. These cures are much more predictable, but not necessarily the best tasting.

          1. re: embee

            I was thinking overcuring was an issue. It could very well be that a bunch of people had sandwiches from the same batch of overcured briskets.

            I had a very salty one about a month ago. Excessively salted. But that's one sandwich out of 6. I had another last night and it was back on track, if only a little dry. Overall, i don't see any reason to press the panic button.

        2. We were there on Saturday as well and our sandwiches were definitely beyond our salt tolerance, and we like salt. Other times we've had Caplansky's the sandwiches weren't as salty. I'm guessing that the recipe is still in progress, but Zane seems to read the posts and I'm sure he will work it out. It is definitely an art to get it right.

          1. The original comment has been removed