West Island Deli
3689 Boul. Saint-Jean
Phone: (514) 624-3354
Casual Eats: Chef Hats 3
Cost: $ 39.66
I can’t say how many times I have eaten smoked meat in my life, let’s just say allot. My dad was an avid fan and when I moved to the West Island his normal routine after visiting me was taking a trip down to Chenoy’s on St John Boulevard to get the snack pack. He loved it and I still have till this day fond memories of those days.
It was circa 1999, when we heard about Abie’s; it was the place to go in the West Island if you wanted a great smoked meat sandwich comparable to Schwartz on the Main. Situated in a mall a hop and skip away from Chenoy’s it was the real deal, without having to actually drive to the Plateau and lining up to get into Schwartz. Rumors were that Abie’s Deli had purchased the old grill from Schwartz’s were John Haim had worked for 34 years. It was the best grill for liver steak and even Schwartz with their new grills couldn’t compare to the old taste. I loved Abie’s and would purchase whole briskets to bring down to my friends in the US, who were smitten with the old European way of smoking meat.
It was a huge disappointment to hear about the fire at Abie’s in 2013 and its slow return, then the news that they were not being able to negotiate a new lease agreement in its present location and were closing; but moving down the street to new digs in the Blue Haven mall and rebranding with a new lease on life and a new name. On lives a new era where even a long time West Island favorite McBay’s had to close after being a fixture in the West Island for 40 years due to hard times and bad management. For a while smoked meat no longer seems to be the favorite of local West Islanders, and delis were a thing of the past with all modern bistros opening up everywhere, but tradition must prevail. The West Island Deli is the only place left in this neck of the woods that serves a real decent smoked meat and all the deli favorites; like it is suppose to be. It would be a real shame if we would lose that too.
On a more positive note, the West Island Deli merits a visit, as its new location is not only much cozier, but has been totally renovated in a modern theme with grey and white brick tiles. It has a very bistro feel to it with its black tables and chairs and comfortable leather banquettes. With its surrounding white paned windows it looks more like something you would find in Paris than an old fashioned Jewish deli. Even the new logo which is splashed across each paned window has a modern European twist. Its cool urban decor is a sure draw for those late night eaters and the twenty-something’ crowd after a late night of partying. Or it is simply a great place to grab a bite, with family or go watch the hockey game with friends on the multiple TV screens that have been strategically placed above, so you get a good angle from wherever you are sitting.
Even though West Island Deli is meat heavy, it also serves great breakfasts and some healthier sandwiches, what is so beneficial here is that the deli does not use sodium nitrates as a preservative on their cuts of meat instead they use a special in house rub, a mix of pickling spices and a $ 70,000 smoker to lock in the juices creating perfect briskets that can be ordered to your choice, fatty, medium lean or dry.
We ordered two smoked meat sandwiches, two sodas and a large poutine to share. The medium fatty smoked meat sandwich was perfectly tender, tasty and juicy with the perfect amount of fat. The dry smoked meat sandwich was good but I prefer the medium fatty to the dry. Our large poutine came served in a mound of crispy fries, ample gravy and cheese curds. We received coleslaw and pickles to go with our sandwiches. The portions here are big and this was more than plenty for two small appetites.
Our sandwiches came served with mustard, and extra on the side if we wanted, which pleased me greatly because at Chenoy’s a few months earlier, I was told by a waiter that smoked meat was never suppose to be served with mustard. Unless he misunderstood my request, which meant he was not listening, this is totally preposterous, as I had always eaten my smoked meat with mustard my whole lifetime and had never heard of such nonsense.
The customer is always right and if they request something, they should be accommodated. It is not like I asked for foie gras for free, last time I checked condiments were at your discretion.
The service at West Island deli is courteous and fast. Our waitress was ever so accommodating and agreeable; she was pleasant, talkative and cheery. What a difference! We decided to drop in at the spur of the moment, to grab a bite to eat after shopping. It was a quiet night, a few patrons sat at the pick-up counter waiting for their orders; we liked the place so much we decided to dine at the restaurant to enjoy the whole feel of the place. Abie Haim was there behind the counter to greet us and let us sit wherever we wanted. Transplanted and hanging next to us in our booth were pictures of various past Montreal scenes that hung in the old Abie’s Deli, which created a great conversation piece in regards to the old Jewish community on the Main and gave us food for fodder while we ate a piece of history.
Fine dining is great but we need more places like The West Island Deli this to bring us back to our roots, and don’t forget the pickle.
West Island Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info – Zomato
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