Yeah that's right...I went to Caplansky's a third time and guess what, third time's a charm because I managed to snag photos this time--yay! I think it's safe to say that I can do a proper review of the place now.
Caplansky's is open 7 days a week, opening at 10 on the weekend. This is important just in case you decide to head downtown really early and make it there before 1pm, when parking is free along Bloor Street. Get there with plenty of time to spare as service is either super fast and friendly or super slow and friendly. Either way, it's friendly, which is always good.
Here's a peek at their menu, which is actually the placemat. It comes in three parts. Part one is breakfast:Breakfast is served all day and includes Smoked Meat Hash (smoked meat with hash browns), The Special (three eggs, smoked beef bacon, latkes, toast and coffee). There's also other stuff like Salami and Eggs and The Leo and so forth.
Next up is lunch which is available starting at 11:Lunch features sandwiches (obviously including their famous smoked meat) along with BBQ brisket, a smoked meat burger and so forth. The only thing I've ever ordered from the lunch portion is the smoked meat sandwich. Duh!
Dinner is on the far-left of the menu and begins service at 5pm:Sean and I have never had the pleasure of enjoying any of the offerings including the 10oz. chopped steak, Caplansky Salad, liver and onions or other things. One of these days,my friends, one of these days. Down at the bottom you've got Deli Classics:Check out the chopped liver, knish and pickled herring because I haven't had the chance to and on the far-left bottom corner is the special combos:The sandwich combo is what Sean and I both decided to roll with this particular visit--and on another previous visit. Sean ordered the soup while I rolled with the fries. Here's Sean's matzoh mall soup:And my stunning basket 'o fries:Glorious. Seriously. I mean that about the fries. I didn't grab the opportunity to taste Sean's soup as the matzoh ball was made out of schmaltz (chicken fat which I'm pretty sure wasn't organic) and chicken broth (again, which I'm pretty sure wasn't organic). But these fries...they're the closest I've come to Montreal-type fries in Toronto. Slightly sweet, soggy and perfect. They come unseasoned so Sean sprinkled on some kosher sea salt (which was on offer, awesome!) and malt vinegar (awesome again). I'm one of those people that does not like vinegar on their fries, but Montreal fries and fry-truck fries (you know the ones I'm talking about) are the only exception. We also grabbed a side order of extra pickles:
Mmmm...sour pickles and then came our sandwiches:
This is a serious sandwich folks. It comes on rye which is not toasted and does not come dressed in mustard. Blasphemy? No, because there are at least 3 or 4 different types of mustard set on your table so you can choose the mustard of your liking. This day's range of mustard including a horseradish variety, two different types of spicy mustard, the regular yellow kind in a yellow squeeze bottle and a honey mustard. Okay so make that five different kinds but you get the picture. There's really a mustard here for everyone. I'm almost 100% sure of it.
Oh and the meat...the real reason you're probably reading this? Well it's the closest Montreal-type smoked meat I've tasted in Toronto and even Sean's parents agree that it's pretty darn good. (FYI: Sean's parents were born and raised in Montreal. They moved to Ontario shortly after Sean was born.) It's tender, juicy and I forgot that upon ordering, you get the choice of how you like your meat: lean, medium or fatty. During my first visit I went with the medium but upon this visit, I went all "balls to the wall" and choice fatty. It was a choice well-chosen. I suggest everyone put their diets aside for one meal (or go jog an extra mile or two) because the fatty meat is definitely worth it.
My thoughts on Caplansky's? Well clearly I'm a fan of their sandwiches. Can you believe that I actually finished off an entire one the first time Sean and I visited? I'm a little crazy like that. Subconsciously I think that I can consume as much food as Sean does, if not more, despite the fact that he is a full foot taller than me. During this visit though, I was a little more sane and decided to polish off half my sandwich and save the rest for later. And I could not wait for lunchtime to roll around at work the next day.