I finally got the chance to eat Montreal style pastrami/cured beef at the now famous Mile End Delicatessen. It’s located on Hoyt Street off of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn New York. I wanted to see and taste what the difference was between the more traditional NY style pastrami and corned beef versus Montreal style.
The first thing you notice is that the actual restaurant is very small. It has a 6 seat counter with four tables all occupied when I arrived there today. The wait was short but that was only because I sat at the counter near the front door which wasn’t actually that cold. You sit right in front of the kitchen and watch the sandwiches and plates being put together by two very hard working kitchen aides. The ordering process was quick and lo and behold, my sandwich arrived. I ordered a cured beef sandwich which came already with mustard on it and Montreal style potato salad as a side. The cured beef had a spicy garlicy but pleasing taste but a bit dry unlike more traditional pastrami which is more moist. And, unlike the typical NY deli, the meat was not heaped on the bread (rye bread). The potato salad was more like German potato salad which has very large pieces of potatoes sliced up.
I enjoyed the experience but as a true New Yorker, I still prefer NY style pastrami. Interestingly, they owners want to make sure that their Montreal heritage is maintained so they purchase their bagels from Black Swan, the Montreal style bagel store in Lolita. All the same, try it and sample the difference.