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anyone eaten at Schwartz's in Montreal recently? [moved from Ontario board]

foodyDudey May 26, 2014 06:12 PM

When I read about Montreal smoked meat here on CH, Schwartz's in Montreal is almost always mentioned. So when on business in Montreal recently, I ate there with the two other Torontonians. I didn't find the smoked meat sandwich worth eating at all, it was very bland and even lacked salt! This was nothing to write home about and not worth a trip even from our Montreal location. It made me wonder what the big deal is about as Goldin's smoked meat is much better. Has anyone else eaten there recently and how was it? I know it's not made in the mass-produced way that some others are and that there will be some variability, but I was not expecting very bland meat.

P.S. someone should have mentioned not to look down at the floor....

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    frogsteak RE: foodyDudey May 26, 2014 06:18 PM

    must have been an off night . try again or go to the main across the street

    1. petek RE: foodyDudey May 26, 2014 06:19 PM

      The last few times I ate at Schwartz's I wasn't impressed so I've switched to the Main across the street when I'm in Montreal. No line up and the smoked meat is just as good or better.

      1. k
        kwfoodiewannabe RE: foodyDudey May 26, 2014 08:15 PM

        It's been a while... sad to hear your review.

        Next time try Smoke Meat Pete's.

        1. b
          BigBabyYeezuS RE: foodyDudey May 26, 2014 08:38 PM

          How did you order the sandwich? Was there in march, noticed no difference. I've had bad sandwiches there before, but it's usually the gold standard.

          1. mtlcowgirl RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 07:01 AM

            As I understand it, Schwartz's is a tourist mecca. There is better smoked meat. I have always liked Reuben's on St. Catherine Street.

            7 Replies
            1. re: mtlcowgirl
              foodyDudey RE: mtlcowgirl May 27, 2014 07:29 AM

              Thanks mtlcowgirl. In the posts on the Toronto board, Schwartz's appears to be the golden standard. I'll try Reuben's next time, it's a short walk from where I stay when I am there.

              1. re: foodyDudey
                BigBabyYeezuS RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 10:24 AM

                My man, no. Reuben's is terrible. It's pumped and nitrate laden and has an oily texture.

                How did you order your meat at Schwartz's? If you did medium or fat you likely had a bad sandwich. If you ordered lean, you have no one to blame but yourself.

                The Main is a good alternative, as is Smoke Meat Pete.

                1. re: BigBabyYeezuS
                  foodyDudey RE: BigBabyYeezuS May 27, 2014 10:45 AM

                  No I didn't order it lean, why would anyone do that? I don't order steaks well done either!

                  1. re: foodyDudey
                    BigBabyYeezuS RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 11:00 AM

                    Trust me, I've seen it done.

                    I would give it another shot next time you're in Montreal. Natural variability and all that.

                  2. re: BigBabyYeezuS
                    Shattered RE: BigBabyYeezuS May 27, 2014 01:22 PM

                    Reuben's serves smoked meat poutine and smoked meat 'eggrolls'. 'Nuff said.

                    1. re: Shattered
                      mtlcowgirl RE: Shattered May 29, 2014 06:12 PM

                      I liked it before they went all fern bar. Haven't been since I used to work in the area. But yeah, poutine and egg rolls sound pretty pathetic.

                2. re: mtlcowgirl
                  Shattered RE: mtlcowgirl May 27, 2014 07:52 AM

                  Reuben's is nothing special. The Main is a good alternative.

                3. j
                  JerkPork RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 07:28 AM

                  FoodeyDudey, you are correct, something is going on at Schwartz my last few visits (since the sale) have been disappointing. It's as if they are cutting short their curing times, the meat was not tender at all.

                  See rants about it here;


                  Please go to Delibees or Smoked Meat Pete's instead.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JerkPork
                    foodyDudey RE: JerkPork May 27, 2014 07:35 AM

                    Thanks for the feedback, JerkPork. The odd thing is that both the other two people I was with are also from Toronto and had eaten at Schartz's many times, but didn't comment at all about the lack of flavour. No spicing, no smoke, no salt, I was extremely disappointed and wondered how this place had the reputation that it does. Especially since while I was waiting in the line outside I was thinking "I am glad that the other two guys told me to drive directly to Schartz's before we even checked into the hotel, I am really waiting for this after reading about it on Chowhound".

                    1. re: foodyDudey
                      Shattered RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 07:51 AM

                      Did you order it lean? Tourists tend to do that, and if you cut off the fat you will also lose the spice/salt around the outside.

                  2. p
                    Pincus RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 07:31 AM

                    I was there at the start of May and the meat was tender enough, but there was no flavour or spice to it.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Pincus
                      foodyDudey RE: Pincus May 27, 2014 07:48 AM

                      What I forgot to mention is that the meat was ordered medium fat, and was on the dry side, and not tender. Basically everything possible that could be wrong with it, was wrong. Since I was with two people who had eaten there in the past and they didn't mention any problems with it, I waited till i was outside the restaurant to tell them that they should try Goldin's when they get back to Toronto as it is much better.

                      1. re: foodyDudey
                        Shattered RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 08:03 AM

                        You got a dry part of the brisket, it happens. Too bad you didn't send it back. They would have replaced it.

                        1. re: foodyDudey
                          Pincus RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 09:53 AM

                          I got a medium.

                          Fries were excellent, though.

                          1. re: Pincus
                            foodyDudey RE: Pincus May 27, 2014 10:47 AM

                            Yes, I remember that the fries were very good. But it's a smoked meat place, not Blackie's Fries.

                            1. re: foodyDudey
                              Pincus RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 01:41 PM

                              Have to take compensation from a mediocre experience wherever you can.

                      2. j
                        jfprieur RE: foodyDudey May 27, 2014 07:46 AM

                        Main, Smoked Meat Petes are all alternatives to try, although I have to say I have not been to Schwartzs for ages. I like the other 2 too much!

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: jfprieur
                          OliverB RE: jfprieur May 27, 2014 09:00 PM

                          I'm a lifelong Schwartz's diehard (anything else in the city is sacrilege) but on my last visit to the Montreal, I ordered about half a dozen sandwiches from the newer takeout counter next door, and everyone was sorely disappointed. They were overly dry and flavorless. I wonder if it's just the takeout storefront?

                          1. re: OliverB
                            foodyDudey RE: OliverB May 27, 2014 11:45 PM

                            It should be safe to assume they both sell the same meat, plus I ate in, I didn't order from the takeout next door.

                            1. re: OliverB
                              frogsteak RE: OliverB May 28, 2014 04:45 AM

                              takeout sandwiches are never good. you should know that.

                              1. re: OliverB
                                JerkPork RE: OliverB May 28, 2014 05:15 AM

                                My recent visits have been both from the take out side (eaten immediately in the back) and the eat in side. It's the same meat. I've been going to Schwartz for half my life and have always praised it but something is off. I'm standing by my theory that they are not smoking or curing the meat long enough. You could tell by the way the fibers of the meat don't loosen up.

                                1. re: JerkPork
                                  ZEEDAN RE: JerkPork May 28, 2014 03:05 PM

                                  Many talk about the process beeing cut short. Definitely doesn't taste the same.

                                  Also went to main and the take out wasn't great had a very bad sandwich that wasn't steamed enough. Rumor has it Main has been sold.

                                  1. re: ZEEDAN
                                    EaterBob RE: ZEEDAN May 29, 2014 06:34 AM

                                    Nope. You can quash that rumor right here and now. The main is still owned and being run by Peter Vavaro's daughter, Jennifer Bass.

                                    1. re: EaterBob
                                      ZEEDAN RE: EaterBob Jul 21, 2014 03:58 AM

                                      EaterBob I was at Main yesterday and the new owner introduced himself to us. It has been sold. Smoke meat was very good and perfectly moist. They have a terrase setup in the front for the summer. I'm happy the product didn't change with the new ownership.

                                  2. re: JerkPork
                                    frogsteak RE: JerkPork May 28, 2014 07:23 PM

                                    I went to snowdon deli recently. the old fashioned was as good as ever and they have the best coleslaw.

                                    1. re: frogsteak
                                      JerkPork RE: frogsteak May 29, 2014 07:22 AM

                                      Does anyone know if Snowdon Deli smokes their meat in-house?

                                      1. re: JerkPork
                                        BLM RE: JerkPork May 29, 2014 02:10 PM

                                        No. It's made for them according to their specs. I still prefer Snowdon Deli smoked meat over everybody else.

                                        1. re: BLM
                                          hungryann RE: BLM May 29, 2014 07:28 PM


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                                poumonsauvage RE: foodyDudey Jun 11, 2014 04:23 PM

                                I was disappointed last time I went as well (back in May, it had been a couple of years since my last visit). Meat was definitely dry and not warmed enough (the middle was cold like it had been taken out of the fridge and not steamed for hours like the take-out instructions tell you to). I thought it was just a one-off but it appears systemic. That is very troubling. Schwartz used to have the best smoked meat, it may no longer be true.

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