So I finally checked out the much-hyped new smoked meat joint named Mile End for the historically Jewish Montreal neighborhood where it gets its inspiration. The place was packed with a refreshingly mixed crowd, not just hip, singletons but parents with babies and older couples, no doubt in search of a taste of the Old Country. Everyone seemed happy with what they got; which was primarily smoked brisket on bread with a scrape of mustard, bagels with house cured salmon or turkey sandwiches and the ubiquitous Stumptown coffee.
The very sweet waitress, who was literally run off her feet, said they had cooked twice as much as they thought they would need and still ran out twice that day. They would have to close for dinner just to get ahead of themselves. The scene hadn’t calmed any a few days later when friends reported lines snaking down the block, even in these chilling temperatures. I had the smoked meat sandwich and it was hearty and tasty, though that deep smoke stayed with me for the rest of the day. My son LOVED the bagels I brought home; I’m told they are flown in daily from Montreal, and their sweet crust comes from a dip in a honey-water bath before baking. The guys sharing our table had Poutine, a Montreal standard of fries, doused in brown gravy and cheese curds, which also looked good, in a rib-sticking, not-eating-again-for-a-month kind of way.
I’ll return to Mile End but perhaps to try something less manly than the smoked meat next time, if I can ever get a seat at one of the few communal tables. Mile End is at 97A Hoyt Street, near Atlantic Ave. in Boerum Hill.