Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Taste of Montreal

Lean Montreal smoked meat with dark rye, fries and coleslaw
When visiting Montreal, one has to try the famous smoked meat sandwiches. My cousin, who was studying there over a dozen years ago, took me to Schwartz's.

I remember there was a line up outside just to get in and we got some sandwiches for me to eat on the train back to Toronto. The rye bread was generously spread with mustard and the warm smoked meat was wonderful comfort food, just casually placed in a brown paper bag.

And here in Vancouver people can get pretty good Montreal smoked meat sandwiches at Dunn's Famous in the downtown area on Seymour Street.

We went there today for lunch after some Boxing Day shopping and were surprised it wasn't very busy, though there was a slow stream of people coming in either to eat in or take out.

The place has a diner atmosphere with large booths, dark interior and it doubles as a pub with a bar area and large television screens playing the sports channel and the Food Network.

The menu has all kinds of comfort food, from hamburgers to hotdogs, all-day breakfast, pastas, salads and even poutine -- the heart-clogging French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds.
A quirky chalk drawing of the restaurant

But we were there for the Montreal smoked meat sandwiches.

The restaurant literature explains that it was established in 1927 by Meyer Dunn. The smoked meat is a whole double A beef brisket brined for seven days, dry smoked for 12 hours and steamed for three hours until tender just before serving.

The super sandwich for $11.99 has 6oz of smoked meat the restaurant promises is hand sliced according to your preference of either lean, medium or fat, and on your choice of rye bread (light or dark) with mustard. It comes with Dunn's coleslaw, a dill pickle and French fries with the skin on.

Alternatively the fries can be substituted with the soup of the day or a house salad at no extra charge, while for a bit more, one can have Caesar salad, onion rings, seafood chowder, or poutine.

Once the order arrives at the table, one wonders -- can I finish it? The smoked meat is piled high between two slices of bread which looks daunting, but once you bite into it, it's hearty and wonderful comfort food.

Being more health conscious, we ordered the lean meat and it wasn't too oily, though the tart coleslaw would have helped cut the grease.

In the end we did manage to finish pretty much the whole thing minus a few fries.

And we weren't hungry again until we ate dinner...

Dunn's Famous
827 Seymour Street (at Robson)
604 682 8938

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