From the perspective of a Philadelphian, who had some concern about
too-high expectations impossible to be met: WOW! Yesteryear in charm, ambience, taste, value; a total experience.
We learned that the choice of 'dry' vs 'medium' required some research that we did not have: hubby ordered 'dry', and while tasty, my 'medium' was far juicier. We shared a table with some workers, two from the States, all big guys, and they ordered a 'corner' plus all sort of great accompaniments. Well! That was something else I wish I had known about, even though the taste of my sandwich (true Montreal bargain at
$6.60, even if the accompaniments like pickles were all extra) was totally to my liking.
Sure enough, when we left, at noon, the line outside was fairly long.
This is a place to visit early to avoid disappointment, unless waiting in a line in the chill is part of the experience...
The memory lingers. Schwartz' is a National Treasure.
Nice to hear an out-of-towner's view!
If you peruse the Montreal board, many feel the National Treasure has been defiled by the new, Celine Dion-affiliated ownership......
Of course I was being 'cute' in my shorthand. I could not write out the full name with a straight face. But again,
an outsider's perspective, the vibe as there--the attitude of the employees, the pride, the crammed tables full of happy customers, the quality of the meat can not have changed.
I can't put into words, because I just don't know the difference between 'corned' beef and marinated, smoked beef of Schwartz's. But, the taste, the quality of the sandwich, that's not hype. Change of ownership is not something that can change that, or at least from my perspective, it certainly hasn't. If we had had an extra day, I would have been back for a 'corner'. I even thought of buying a few pounds to take home to share with our friends, but that could not have duplicated the atmosphere. It was more than the tasty meat, and the informal service--it was the décor, the pride, the continuity, the shared experience of total strangers sharing stories about the food.
New ownership isn't going to mess with what isn't broken.
If you've never been there before, then you don't realize what you're comparing it to. Odds are the majority of people at the crammed tables full of happy customers were tourists enjoying their lunch. But those of us who live here, and have gone there many times over the years have found that the quality of the meat has dropped substantially since the change of ownership. New ownership indeed messed with what wasn't broken.
I live here and I've gone many times over the years (and about half-dozen times with the owners) and it's as good as ever imo. Prices have crept up, but it's still amazing meat, fries, and pickles.
Bashful: I'm not sure what you mean by 'corner'. That's Philly slang for the plate of meat with the stack of bread, and then you make your own sandwiches?
@Bashful3: The most important thing is that you liked your experience. One thing about smoke meat is that every place in town has their own distinctive flavor and texture. Next time try Main accross the sreet and let us know what you think.
Unfortunately schwartz it seems is having production problem. Too much demands for the production line. Thus in my opinion short cut are taken to produce lots of briskets. It was a diffferent experience for those who liked the sandwich before.
"Corner" was explained to me by the Montréal businessperson who had brought two of his burly workers for lunch. To me, it was Montreal slang, not mine. I've been eating corned beef all my life, and never heard of anyone ordering the end, or 1/2 of the end of a whole brisket, accompanied by bread to make their own sandwich (es).
I'm sure you're right about production problems. Price of too much popularity. I left something out of all my reviews, partly
because I got pounced on by the CH Board police: the best part of Montreal is the people. So gracious, all. I travel on buses with a walker, men and women hopped up with a smile to give me their seat, every time I got on a bus.
Coming back in warmer weather. Going to go on a smoked meat crawl, to better compare. Loved it!
Ok, they were referring to the end chunk of the brisket. I've never known you could ask for a specific part, either. The end piece would have more outside area and thus more pepper and probably more fat. I'll try that next time since I usually order a plate and I like it like that.
I'm glad you enjoyed Montreal and agree your views comparing The Main deli across the street from Schwartz would be interesting. To warmer weather!
Usually, you can specify lean, medium, or fat. Perhaps "dry" was a best-translation from a French speaking person?
Anyway, the result is generally the same, lean tends to be quite dry...
Perhaps next time order their 'speck; a plate of unadulterated Montreal smoked meat fat, if just for a taste (it ain't dry).
Glad you enjoyed it...on your return visit you may want to try the Main deli just across the street....less busy and the prices
are quite a bit lower also.