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Deli Sokolow

7 Sep

There is just something about a Jewish-style deli that I really enjoy. Given my lack of Jewish ancestry, it is not simply a function of what I grew up with because I didn’t. There is simply something about the homeyness, the familiarity, the old school nature of a deli that I love… well that and the smoked meat of course. Leaving my place on Prince Arthur meant no longer being walking or short bike distance from Schwartz’s and the Mile End. Not cool when I need my fix. However, when I heard about a new deli opening in St-Henri, only a short distance away from my new place, I was immediately intrigued and felt the need to give them a try.

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Deli Sokolow is a deli and ice cream shop offering day around options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located right on the corner of Notre Dame Ouest and Sainte-Marguerite, the shop definitely is going for a old Deli feel with its use of old school chairs, glass counters, laminate tabletops as well as a metal bar and stools by the window. The decor could use a bit extra pop to it colorwise but otherwise it is a old deli through and through.

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For my first visit, I went with a mixture of classic and twisted fare. First was a side of coleslaw – traditional with a vinegar base. And of course, I needed to have a root beer at a deli. Exactly what I wanted. Nothing more and nothing less.

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The interesting item though was the latke poutine. Yeah that’s right…. a latke poutine. When I heard about this, I knew I needed to try it. I love latkes – once I tried some proper homemade ones years ago, I was hooked – and I most certainly love poutine. I was very curious to see how this would stack up. The portion was generous enough and had a nice thick homestyle gravy and the proper cheese curds. However, the use of large thinner latkes as a base made it that they got stuck together since they were very hot. First time I have ever needed to use a knife when eating a poutine. Right flavours but perhaps not served in the ideal fashion.

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For my second visit, I went a bit of more classic. I decided to start with some perogies – potato and cheese stuffed – served with some sour cream. Good flavour as one would expect. Thankfully, they also had a golden crunch all the way around. There is nothing worse than a soft soggy perogy.

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The Reuben sandwich was my main attraction this time and hit all the right notes – the melted cheese, the acidic sauerkraut and deliciously rich and fatty smoked meat. Personally I would prefer the smoked meat to be medium cut versus lean but that would be a bit of a nitpick in this instance. A solid solid sandwich and frankly one of the better Reuben’s I’ve had.

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And of course, you can’t forget about the ice cream. Being able to get classic hard serve cookie dough ice cream in a cone was a nice trip to memory lane for me and a nice way to finish off a meal.

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Deli Sokolow is a solid deli option and in an area lacking one, a very worthwhile option. The mixture of new and old items is good and you feel the classic Deli vibe. I would recommend however they get other payments options though – cash only so be prepared for that. My first visit was delayed by that… not cool walking by your lunch option realizing it’s a no go. Otherwise, a solid joint and thankfully close enough to satisfy my deli fix.

Cheers!

Deli Sokolow
4350 Notre Dame Ouest
438 392 3239

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New York 2013 – Katz’s Deli

6 Jan

Smoked meat vs. Pastrami on Rye. Similar to the bagel discussion, this is a heated topic between Montrealers and New Yorkers in the culinary arena. Which one rains supreme? As a native Montrealer, I think you can all guess where I stand on this topic but regardless, I felt it was important to try a true Pastrami on Rye sandwich while in New York. Naturally, I chose to head to Katz’s Delicatessen, a NY institution. This place has been serving people since 1888 and known for a number of classic deli dishes including their pastrami sandwich. People may also know Katz’s as the place where the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from When Harry Met Sally took place. There is actually a sign in the restaurant noting actually where they were sitting.

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The deli makes me think of Schwartz’s here in Montreal – if Schwartz’s were about 10 times larger. The place doesn’t look like anyone has touched the decor in at least 10 years and the walls are littered with picture after picture of celebrities coming in to try out their fare. The place apparently always has a line-up and it most certainly did when we walked in… At 4pm on a Tuesday.

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Prior to the sandwich, I got some fries and a root beer, my classic deli drink. The fries, quite honestly, were terrible. Too much of a large cut, the fries were not very crispy and didn’t have much going for them. The sandwich really needed to step up to the plate now.

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The sandwich was a lot closer to Montreal Smoked Meat than expected. It is a wetter approach similar to what you see at Smoked Pete’s than Schwartz’s if we want to make the Montreal comparison. I wasn’t provided an option of lean vs. medium cut but this was closer than medium in terms of cut. Very flavorful and tender – they certainly know what they are doing. It is not Montreal smoked meat but honestly I came out of there with a much more favorable option of Pastrami than I did when I walk in. Katz’s deli is certainly an experience worth having if you’re heading into NY. Just expect having a hard time finding a cab to bring you back uptown if you need it 😉

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Cheers!

Katz’s Delicatessen
205 East Houston Street
New York, NY
212 254 2246

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