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

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

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

        Next time try Smoke Meat Pete's.

        1. 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. 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

              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

                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

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

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    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

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

                    1. re: Shattered

                      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

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

                3. 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

                    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

                      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. 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

                      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

                        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

                          I got a medium.

                          Fries were excellent, though.

                          1. re: Pincus

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

                            1. re: foodyDudey

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

                      2. 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

                          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

                            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

                              takeout sandwiches are never good. you should know that.

                              1. re: OliverB

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

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

                                    1. re: frogsteak

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

                                      1. re: JerkPork

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

                              2. 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.

                                1. When come visit I don't take them to schwartz anymore. Until they go back to the real old fashioned sandwich I'll lead them to the Main deli.

                                  1. I had a medium at The Main this week, terrible....terrible. It was dry and rubbery, how they served this is beyond me. At least we still have Delibee's and Pete's. I hadn't been to The Main in quite a few years so I couldn't even compare to my previous visit but that was just disappointing.

                                    Did I get them on a bad day or was that sandwich the norm?