Deli.co's Montreal Smoked Meat Makes the Mark

I’ve been hearing about smoked meat sandwiches since I met my husband almost five years ago. It seems the highlight of his university education in Montreal was the sky-high smoked meat sandwiches at Reuben’s. 

Pastrami, I asked? 

Oh no, smoked meat bears no resemblance to thin-cut deli varieties, he replied smugly. It's in its own league.

A unique Montreal delicacy prepared from a time-honored recipe of peppered smoked beef brisket, each sandwich contains piles of beef expertly carved to order and served warm. A giant dill pickle accompanies it.


Smoked meat brisket


We’d entertained the notion of visiting Montreal to try that legendary goodness. But it's not so easy when you’re both clocking in 50-hour weeks at the office. Well, if Moses can’t go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Moses. And lucky for us, brisket heaven opened up just hundreds of meters from both of our workplaces.

I’m talking about Deli.co, the third in the family of restaurants comprising Brgr.co and Pzza.co. Located adjacent to its elder siblings, the new delicatessen looks exactly like one you’d find in New York or Montreal, complete with a long, glass-shielded counter where fresh-baked muffins and croissants, daily salads, and an assortment of toppings, garnishes, and meats lay in appealing allure. 


The counter at Deli.co


There are not one but several industrial coffee brewing machines that can expel a mean cup of joe, whether American, cappuccino, espresso, or latte. Perhaps the only difference Deli.co bears from its North American counterparts is a spacious deck plush with cushioned seating and giant parasols.

I’d recommend standing watch as Chef Dory Masri pulls out the brisket from the oven, places it on the counter and masterfully carves 140 g (5 oz.) of lean meat onto a slice of mustard-slathered rye bread. Quartered pickles—ask for a couple extra—along with Lay’s potato chips round out the platter.


Chef Dory Masri, who formerly worked with the acclaimed Gordon Ramsay,
 carves smoked meat and piles it on rye bread

140 g of smoked meat are carefully tucked between two slices of rye


It’s hard for an initiate to describe the experience of sinking her canines into all that meat. You’ve got to be a confident carnivore who’s not afraid to get touchy-feely with Beirut’s ultimate protein fix (24,000 LL). 

This stuff’s tender, lean, subtly seasoned, and everything unlike your previous lame forays into deli-style sandwiches. The juice of the pickle facilitates the brisket’s journey down the esophagus and into the paunch, whereas the chips lend a bit of crunch between bites.


The ultimate smoked meat sandwich with dill pickle and chips


Definitely commit to ordering a sampler of the four or five salads on display (19,000 LL). Chef Dory, who for years donned his toque in one of Gordon Ramsay's kitchens, sure knows how to make veggies interesting, fusing giant Moroccan couscous (semolina balls) with beets and cranberries, as well as half-steamed Brussels sprouts with cauliflower and red onions.


Different salads are prepared daily

Fresh green peas and fava beans with radishes and snap peas

Salad sampler


Part of the authentic deli experience involves mouthwatering baked goods, and Deli.co offers a selection of breakfast mainstays like banana nut muffins, plain and chocolate croissants, tarts, cookies, and dessert bars.


Breakfast baked goods


The white chocolate raspberry cheesecake is decadent and cloyingly sweet, owing to the presence of cocoa butter, milk, and vanilla. 


White chocolate raspberry cheesecake


The lemon bar delivers on strong citrusy notes, but I’d dial down the sugar, even if it defies the preferences of the North American palate. 


Lemon bar with powdered sugar


It’ll be hard to look beyond the brisket at Deli.co, but the menu offers a myriad of tempting items, like roast beef, pastrami, turkey and cheese, sweet and sour chicken salad, and spicy shrimp. 


Roast beef with horseradish sauce on pain de campagne


Moreover, there's a dedicated breakfast lineup comprising avocado mash and smoked salmon on bagel, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, Belgian waffles and fluffy pancakes with maple syrup. 

Fresh-squeezed juices prepared by Qi exclusively for Deli.co also figure in the all-day template. You can even have an inspired smoothie like strawberry-lychee or mango-basil, but hold the extra shot of syrup.

The Montreal-mongers among us finally have reason to rejoice. Just take it from my husband, the original foodie in this couple: the smoked meat at Deli.co is superb, even if a leaner format of what he used to wolf down at Reuben’s. And he's already gorged on it twice in the past three days.

By the way things are looking, I’m gonna need to fabricate a new excuse if I still want to visit Montreal.


Deli.co
Beirut Souks
+961 1 999736

Comments

  1. Everyone is raving about this new place. I went down with a couple of friends the other day to try it. We actually sat on the deck for 10 mins with no one coming to talk to us. They only had 2 tables with customers. When we finally decided to leave, the waiter had the nerve to say "I wish you had a pleasant meal and that you'll come back". The service is beyond poor, I really hope they get this fixed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Elia, that sounds horrible! What day did you go? They opened just last Thursday, even though I know they had a private soft opening in the days leading to the official debut. Could it be you visited on a day they weren't catering to the public?

      As with all new eateries, I imagine they will have kinks and flaws in their service for a good month or so until the dust settles. If at all possible, try to postpone a visit to Deli.co for about a month, when the hype dies down. And next time, wave over a waiter to tend to you. Never wait for them to acknowledge you. Sometimes they're just lost in thought or incompetence ;)

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