While I'm not allowed to eat bread and other things during these holy days, I can damn sure write about it and relive those fond starchy memories. 4 days left. It's nothing...
Brooklyn again? Aw yeah, again and again. I'm already peeping the rental listings. One day I'll be singing with Roy Ayers. Yeah, aiiiiiight. Stop it 5.
I love Jewish deli. Unfortunately they are a dwindling breed. Then a beacon of hope was delivered. David Sax's Save the Deli mentioned the introduction of Montreal deli to NYC. I'm on the West side of Brooklyn, looking for a bustdown,... throw my 2 arms up, touchdown!! It was deemed the Best Deli of 2010 from New York Magazine and it was this blurb from NYM that got me hook, line and sinker. I'm a sucker for certain buzz words. "Locavore". "Fresh ingredients." "In-house." I'm too easy. And I quote:
"Mile End, the barely open, instantly overrun Canadian-Brooklyn oddball, has already, in its infancy, reinvented the venerable form. This is a deli for locavores, a deli for the next generation of deli lovers, with a respect for tradition contemporized by a rare premium on great, fresh ingredients, cooked from scratch, smoked and pickled in-house, served with an unfamiliar (in the deli world, anyway) smile."
Last time I was in Montreal, it wasn't for the pastrami. That said, I never experienced this northern smoked meat phenomenon. Personally, if I never ate a pastrami sandwich (or something similar) prepared by somebody not named Katz's I'd be fine. But I'm always down to try something new so I set sail towards Boerum Hill. It was a beautiful day and the idea of eating deli in the park was quite appealing.
Smoked meat and pastrami are different, even though they look fairly similar. From what I can deduce, smoked meat is dry rubbed and cured while pastrami is prepared with a brine and steamed longer. But the argument goes much deeper than that.
Upon first bite of the Smoked Meat sandwich I noticed much stronger hints of pepper and garlic than accustomed to. Far from overbearing, I'm just used to a bit more saltiness. The meat is also drier than a typical NY pastrami sandwich, but that is due in part to the curing and smoking process. I liked it. The rye bread held up, thanks to the lack of excess moistness.
Seeing some extra fat on the meat always favors well in my book. Don't be scared of the fat people, it's all natural. For $8, this sandwich is a bargain. Don't forget about the ingredients, all natural, pastured Creekstone Farms brisket prepared on premises. (Side note- HERE's an interesting article in the Times about Creekstone from 2 weeks ago.) I'd say the bread measures around 5" side to side, so it's not the largest sandwich, but at 2" tall it makes up for the limited reach.
You didn't think I just got 1 sandwich? I never know the next time I'll be back. Up next was the Ruth Wilensky ($7), a salami sandwich pressed on an onion roll with mustard. This too is made with Creekstone Farm- a brisket/short rib blend, hand stuffed, and smoked over oak for 7 hours. Full disclosure, I prefer soft salami to hard, namely Hebrew National. (Fuck your pause). Way more panini-ish than expected and spice out the noodle. For real for real. I wasn't expecting that. This joint brought it. Dry too. But that's how Montreal keeps it. With the smoked meat at least. This didn't do it for How and will not be ordered again.
I couldn't say no to the house cured pickle ($1.50). It's sort of a necessity when getting biz with a deli sandwich. It wasn't sliced, which would have been preferred, but good nonetheless. This was moist. And crisp. Not as strong as a sour, tougher than a half sour. Let's call it the 75%er.
Where's the Dr. Brown you ask? Come on bredren, this ain't Deli 101. We in 2.0 Beta version fams. Slight Bizarro deli. But Mile End doesn't wander too far from the blueprint and hits you with the Virgil's natural Black Cherry Cream Soda ($2.50). Micro brewed with black cherry and vanilla beans. What did I tell you about using that fancy language. I'm powerless. They also offer root beer and cream.
I love what they're doing here. Even though I was 1 for 2 with their wares, I'll most definitely be back to try the other options off the very limited menu. I really want to try the turkey sandwich. And I don't even like turkey. A friend of mine lives fairly close and has eaten there several times in their short existence. I trust him. Be aware that breakfast and lunch follow very strict time frames. 8am till noon is breakfast items, Montreal bagels, lox (wild king salmon!!), etc. B'fast will be tough before I catch that sublet. At noon the big boys come out and are usually depleted by 4pm. The place is fairly small with limited seating and a counter table. Friendly service. But it's Canadian so you knew that.
97A Hoyt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Mon - Fri 8 am - 4 pm (call for food availability)
Sat - Sun 10 am - 4 pm
F, G to Bergen
A, C, G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn
2, 3 to Hoyt