11602 De Salaberry/Marche de L’Ouest
Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec
Tel: (514) 421-6262
Cost: 121.60 (tax/ tip included for 5 people)
Chef Hats: 3.5
Everyone and anyone has passed through the doors of this famous Deli known for smoked meat and cheesecake at some point in their lives. Dunn’s Famous Delicatessen as it was called in its heyday was founded in Montreal in 1927 by Meyer Dunn, a Russian Jewish Immigrant , who opened his first restaurant serving Montreal style smoked meat * on Papineau Avenue and Mont Royal. Since Dunn’s is synonymous with a piece of Montreal history.
Anyone who lived in Montreal from 1952 to 1998 remembers the flagship restaurant on St. Catherine Street, before its closure. It was all the rage at the time with its display of rows of jars of pickled banana peppers in the window, its long line ups to get in, its late opening hours and its mile high cheesecake. We would always make a pit stop after a movie at the Loews Theatre to have a snack and their famous mile high strawberry cheesecake that was shared by all at the table. Those were the good old days when money was sparse and prices reasonable. Over the years, tastes changed with and with the onset of finer dining establishment’s people moved on to different things. The line ups waned and this location of Dunn’s Famous Deli closed. Meyer Dunn passed away in 1993 but the legacy lived on with his grandson.
In 2000, Meyer’s grandson, Elliot Kligman re-opened Dunn’s in a new the location around the corner from the old Dunn’s on Metcalfe Street and continued making the famous smoked meat sandwiches.
As of 2015, son Andrew joined as VP of Sales and Marketing after graduating from John Molson School of Business, and is taking it to a whole other level and began franchising the brand name. Today it counts seven locations across Quebec, one in Ontario and in Vancouver.
The newest location in Dollard des Ormeaux opened last month at the Marche de L’Ouest. This is the second time Dunn’s has tried their hand at a startup here, previously in a nearby location, it did not fare well because of the competition with Abies/West Island Deli. West Islanders are serious about their smoked meat and its imminent demise was evident. Now with only Chenoy’s and Smoke Meat Pete left, there was a shortage of decent smoked meat delis in The West Island. Dunn’s re-opening not only gives us more of a choice it gives us hope that a comeback is possible.
The new location nestled between Guaca Mole and Panama is a grand space, totally renovated and spacious. The theme is cool and fun with its red and black decor and Hollywood themed bar. At the end of the month they will also have live band to go along with your beer and smoked meat, sound familiar?
The menu is extensive with all the old time favorites and strawberry cheesecake to boot. They have incorporated into the menu something for every palate, and for those who are not big smoke meat fans but want nonetheless go with their friends, you can have healthy wraps or the spicy Asian chicken salads, burgers, pasta and even steak. The food is really good, the service and hospitality is super friendly and accommodating. What more can a diner ask for, it has all the makings of a success story.
On this visit we, started with an entrée of Smoked Meat Egg Spring Rolls for $ 6.00 after they came highly recommended. We received three large deep fried spring rolls filled with smoked meat bits and coleslaw, served with crudities and plum sauce. They were decently good and a great idea for leftover bits of smoked meat.
For our main meal we ordered four main dishes, a Club Roll for $ 13.00, Le Petit Combo for $ 14.50, a Buffalo wrap for $13.00 and a Smoked Meat club sandwich for $ 16.00.
The Club roll was up to par, fresh cuts of deli meats, served with fries, coleslaw and sliced pickle on the side. The Club roll was a generous portion of sliced meat served on a fresh Onion Kaiser bun, minus the mustard. The French Fries were crispy and not overly limp, oily or rancid tasting. The traditional coleslaw topped with half pickle was also tasty and satisfying.
Le Petit Combo which is the traditional small smoked meat sandwich with fixings, was also very tender and delicious. We were asked if we wanted it medium, fatty or dry. We took the medium which was a perfect marriage and not too dry or fatty. Comparable to other sandwiches of the ilk and it was good. Our dinner commented that she found this sandwich better than the usual place she eats smoked meat at and would definitely return.
The Chicken Buffalo Wrap came with crispy chicken wrapped in tortilla shell, with dabs of buffalo BBQ sauce, melted shredded mozzarella cheese, slivers of sweet peppers, and lettuce. The chicken tenders were crispy and the condiments mixed well with the flavors of the crispy chicken making it more of a Southern dish than anything else. It came with a side order of crispy fries. This was a generous plate and very filling, it can be shared for those with small appetites.
The Smoked Meat Club Sandwich was also to our liking and came served with the same accoutrements as the Club Roll and Smoked Meat Sandwich. The Club which was made with smoked meat in lieu of chicken came sandwiched between three sliced toasted bread with slices of Swiss cheese, bacon strips, lettuce and tomato. It was moist and packed with smoky flavors.
For dessert, we had the Hot Cookie with Ice cream and Carrot Caramel cheesecake both for $7.00.
The desserts are still decadent and were absolutely delicious. They still serve their famous strawberry cheesecake and I would recommend, you ditch the usual dessert place and come here just for desserts. The Cheesecake was the perfect marriage of sweetness with caramel drizzle and hints of cinnamon. The dessert was super moist with a marbleized mix of carrot cake and cream cheese.
The Hot Cookie is a must for chocolate lovers, it comes served in a cast iron skillet. More of a cake than a cookie, its consistency it is that of a soft chocolate cookie topped with a mound of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream and drizzle of chocolate syrup.
What we enjoyed most about this location of Dunn’s is the service, hospitality and fun atmosphere. They make you feel like family and we had a personal visit to our table by the owner who wanted to make personally sure that we enjoyed every aspect of our meal and the new locale. The staff is friendly from start to finish and we were well taken care of. Sometimes actions speak louder than words and it feels like smoked meat will reigns once again in the sleepy community of West Island.
** Montreal Style Smoked Meat: is not to get confused with Texas style smoked meat. It is a kosher style deli meat with origins in Eastern Europe, it is made by curing and salting beef brisket with spices in brine for over a week and then hot smoking it and steaming it to complete cooking process. Similar in texture and taste to American Pastrami. Montreal Briskets are different in taste and flavor as the seasoning used consists of a mix of cracked peppercorns, coriander, garlic, and mustard seeds. Served traditionally on rye bread with a dab of mustard, accompaniments coleslaw salad and a dill pickle.