When I was kicked out I realized I was hungry and that I didn't have a lot of money left. I was on Saint-Denis and most restaurants there are a little expensive, so I crossed over to Saint-Laurent where there are some cheaper options. I started craving noodles, so I thought I'd head for Chinatown when I walked past Schwartz's. I stopped and looked at the huge lineup. You know, I've only been there once and got a smoked meat sandwich. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't extraordinary. I think the place is a little overrated. Personally, I've always preferred Dunn's down on Metcalfe street, where I usually get my sandwich with Swiss cheese and some chopped liver. I do loves me some chopped liver.
This time though I looked across the street from Schwartz's and saw the Bifthèque de la Main deli. I'm not sure, but I think I remember reading in an edition of the Reader's Digest that this place was one of Leonard Cohen's favourite spot in Montreal. I checked out their menu in the window which was next to a few newspaper articles about the place, stating this was the best place to eat for under 10$. Sold! I'm eating here. Can't be worse than many other places I've seen. Another article boasts that this place came up with their own smoked meat recipe over a long time through trial and error and achieved perfection. Well, I'm a little skeptical, but I'll try it.
Sine the place's specialty is smoked meat, I thought it was pretty stupid to set up shop across from Schwartz's, a restaurant that's world-renowned for it's smoked meat. But, then again, this is Montreal. Most smoked meat is pretty decent here. I could see the briskets in the window with some pepperoni hanging. Seems legit. Also, they have some kick ass ribs and beefsteak of course as the name implies. (Bifthèque = Beefsteak in French, in case you couldn't figure this out, you square headed butt brain!) So they have a good variety at least.
I went in and the smell of the spices and the pepper just filled my nostrils. It was kind of hard to breathe at first because the smell really stung. The waiters almost all greeted me all together, which made me chuckle. They told me I could sit anywhere so I picked a table and sat on the faux-leather bench. It's really your typical ma and pa type of deli place. Very cozy actually.
The waiter came to my table and handed me the menu. I picked just a smoked meat sandwich with Swiss cheese and a cherry Coke. I love cherry Coke, and Dr Pepper too! They just seem to go so well with smoked meat. It didn't take long and my food arrived. Man, it looked good. The only disappointment is they didn't serve me an actual cherry Coke, but a dark cherry Cott Cola and it kind of tasted like cherry-flavoured cough syrup. Ew! But the sandwich was absolutely delicious. One of the best smoked meat I've had so far even! Very surprising!
That was one of the most satisfying smoked meat sandwiches I've had. Screw Schwartz's, I'm coming here next time and I'm gonna tell all those suckers in line across the street that they don't know what they're missing.
Next time I'm coming over and I'm having this:
Brisket au jus! God damn that must be good!
I tried the brisket "au jus" (meaning it comes with a bowl of tasty beef stock with spices) and it's basically the smoked meat, but roasted instead of being steamed. It came with a side order of fries and some slices of rye bread. The beef with the stock was delicious. I highly recommend it.