Mile End Smoked Meat & Stumptown Now Available at Vic’s Bagel Bar!
I’d heard about Montreal smoked meat sandwiches but I didn’t know much about them nor had I ever been in the vicinity of one, much less eaten one. It sounds (and looks) like something I’d enjoy immensely though. Cured and smoked meat, mustard, bread. All things I like. So when we were tipped that Vic’s Bagel Bar (3rd btw. 36+37th) was now carrying meats from Mile End Deli, a Brooklyn establishment known for authentic Montreal smoked meat, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try this north-of-the-border specialty.
Naturally Vic’s is pretty proud of their new partnerships with Mile End and Stumptown Coffee, proven by the many signs up touting both. They carry a few smoked Mile End products, including the standard “smoked meat” (brisket), salami and turkey. A sandwich with your choice of meat as well as whatever fixings and mix-ins you want (I guess that means you could get cream cheese on it?) will run you $8. I ordered smoked meat with Swiss cheese and mustard on a poppy seed bagel (I didn’t see any bread anywhere). For the uninitiated, smoked meat is basically a variation of pastrami. I also got a medium coffee ($2.10). The whole thing came to an ML limit busting $11 after tax! I bet it’s cheaper in Montreal.
Let me get the bad out of the way right now. The serving of meat was paltry, and not just by NY pastrami sandwich standards. The bagel completely overpowered the meat at times. $8 is just too much for a sandwich that isn’t going to fill you up.
They also slice the meat a bit too thin, and warm the meat up on the grill (kind of bush league if you ask us). But it still didn’t change the fact that Mile End smoked meat is pretty freakin’ delicious. It’s very similar to pastrami but it has a prominent yet mellow smokiness that distinguishes it. Despite the whole grilling thing, it was warm, moist and tender. The bagel was also pretty good. I have no complaints about how the sandwich tasted. After all, smoked meat+melted cheese+mustard=delicious. That’s just math.
The Stumptown coffee was OK. I don’t think I did myself any favors by ordering coffee at an empty bagel place at 1 in the afternoon though.
In some sort of communal utopia where the exchange of currency wasn’t a concern, I would tell everyone to head to Vic’s and try this. It’s not fantastic but it’s good and a little different than what you can get anywhere else in Manhattan. In the real world though, I’d suggest you wait until Vic’s starts piling on the meat (or another Groupon deal rolls around.)
Amy was a big fan of Vic’s, but for those who are rubbed the wrong way by their somewhat silly Cold Stone cream cheese gimmick and high prices I don’t think this partnership is going to change your mind. But you can’t help but appreciate their efforts to offer something a little different. They’ll always be my first Montreal smoked meat experience, even if they do charge too much for it.
Vic’s Bagel Bar, 544 3rd Ave (btw 36+37th), 212-213-3900