March 23, 2010

Mile End: A Little Piece of Montreal in Brooklyn

After scouring the city for macarons, we were more than ready for a savory lunch of Montreal smoked meat at Mile End in Brooklyn.  There are two foods New Yorkers (like my hubby) are passionate about:  bagels and pastrami sandwiches.  So why was he all excited about heading to Mile End?  

A couple years ago, I took my husband up to Montreal for the first time.  I love Montreal and had spent many childhood road trips walking the cobblestone streets in Old Montreal, munching on crispy Montreal bagels from St. Viateur, and practicing my rudimentary French.  He enjoyed the city as much as I did  - but was especially excited when we dined at Schwartz's. The melt in your mouth smoked meat we ate was amazing, with the only problem being it was a 6 hour drive away.  Now with the opening of Mile End, his smoked meat was only a subway ride away.
Mile End is New York's first restaurant serving Montreal casual fare like smoked meat sandwiches, Montreal bagels (directly from St. Viateur), and poutine.  Every Friday, they pick up fresh bagels from St. Viateur in Montreal, and drive them back to Brooklyn on Saturday.  Until the end of March, they are discounting bagels by 20%.  We pre-ordered our sesame seed bagels online ($16/dozen), picked them up from the counter, and munched on a couple of them while waiting to dine in for lunch.

Montreal bagels are thinner and sweeter than New York ones.  They are hand-rolled, par-boiled in malt-infused water, and baked in a wood-burning oven.  We love the ones completely doused in sesame seeds.
Despite the summery weather and weekend lunch crowd, we only waited about 20-30 mins for a seat.  Mile End has a small counter area, a few picnic tables, and a popular take-out window.  The menu is small and nearly everything is made on-site.

We started off with the Smoked Meat Hash ($8) with brisket, potatoes, onions, and a fried egg.  Crunchy, salty, and topped off with a runny yolk - what could be better? 
Classic Poutine ($8):  It's no secret we love this dish of fries, cheese curds and gravy. Whenever we're in Montreal, we love La Banquise, in Toronto it's Smoke's Poutinerie, and in Manhattan, we've gone to T Poutine.  This version features hand-cut, twice fried French fries covered in Silvery Moon Creamery cheddar cheese curds, and homemade mushroom gravy.  We could have used a bit more gravy to help melt the curds more, but we did empty out this bowl of comfort food.  
Smoked Meat Platter ($13):  This was the reason why we trekked out to Brooklyn and it did not disappoint.  My very happy hubby was in smoked meat heaven.  We loved the big fat black peppercorns encrusted along the meat's edge.  The meat is an all-natural, pastured Creekstone Farms brisket that is dry rubbed and cured for 10 days, smoked over oak for 10 hours, steamed for 3 hours and finally hand-sliced upon order.  It's a little fattier than the NY pastrami, but just as worthy of inducing the Meg Ryan "When Harry Met Sally" scene at Katz's.

It's no wonder that Mile End regularly runs out of its smoked meat by 3 or 4pm.  (We were following them on twitter all day to check the status of the smoked meat inventory).  Space is tight and food can quickly run out, but Mile End was definitely worth the trip.

Mile End is located at 97A Hoyt Street in Brooklyn, NY.

Mile End on Urbanspoon

14 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. How funny, my MIL told me about this a while ago. I just never investigated.

    So does that mean there are two fewer reasons for you and Jeff to come and visit us now? I hope not! :p

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  3. Of course not! You still have St. Ambroise brewery! =) Btw, your hubby wouldn't like the washroom...it's covered in Habs photos! =)

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  4. Wow, I am a little shook up by this post....being from Montreal lol. Funny enough I work on the Mile End too. When I saw the bagel I thought no way they made it there...as you confirmed when I read on hehe. The rest, I remain credulous until I taste first hand ;-) Great review

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  5. @Evelyne - You have to come down and visit. The cook/owner is from Montreal and he named the restaurant for the area where you work.

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  6. I think that is such a cute name for the resto and very fitting.

    Re: the Habs washroom... I have a feeling that my opposed might not be opposed to defecating on the walls...

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  7. A Canadian FoodieMarch 24, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Have you been to Shwartz's in Montreal. It is deadly delish. I don't even like meat, and I was in heaven. Thanks for sharing. Looks nice... but there is not place like the first.
    I enjoyed your Macaron Trip - and your blog so much that I have awarded you a beautiful blog award that was recently passed on to me. Stop by to pick it up and pay it forward.
    Love your work!
    Valerie

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  8. *haha! Of course what I meant was:

    Re: the Habs washroom... I have a feeling that my HUBBY might not be opposed to defecating on the walls...

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  9. @A Canadian Foodie - Schwartz's is where our Montreal smoked meat love got started - Love at first bite!

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  10. One of the big regrets of my life is not having been born in New York City or Brooklyn for that matter! I loved Atlantic Avenue when I first checked it out oh about 25 years ago and I wish I could have stayed longer to check out the rest!
    Sounds like a fun place you uncovered here

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  11. Oh yum, I went to Montreal for the jazz festival years ago and I still remember those bagels. Didn't know you could find them in NYC!

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  12. @tasteofbeirut - NYC's a fun place to live but it'll always be here to visit! Give us a shout if you come out again!

    @TinyUrbanKitchen - Mile End's the only place you can find them...If my hubby hasn't finished them all, I'll bring one to you tomorrow. Can't wait to catch up!

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  13. When I go next to NYC I will definitely love to go with you :-)

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  14. Everyone is writing about this place lately! I live nearby but I haven't made it there yet. I have to get there! Thanks for the great review, and photos!

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