No bull! This Montreal man will change your notion of pastrami forever

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Call it “pastrami” or call it “smoked meat,” but we call it delicious.

Montreal native Noah Bernamoff is about to forever change Brooklyn deli habits when he opens Mile End, a north-of-the-border-style smokehouse on Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill.

And change them for the better.

In Bernamoff’s home town, the scrumptious cured meat known to generations of Jews (and their gustatory allies) as pastrami is known by the more generic-sounding name “smoked meat.” The similarities are clear: both delicacies derive from highly spiced, cured mounds of fatty brisket — a more evolved sibling of corned beef.

But Montreal’s version also spends hours in a smoker, a lengthy spin that further breaks down the connective tissue and melts the fat into an ooze that keeps everything juicy. Bernamoff hand-cuts the resulting mound of meat and serves it high (but not too high) on rye with his homemade stout mustard.

It’s arguably the best take on Brooklyn’s old standard since that Downtown stalwart Jack’s on Court Street closed decades ago.

“If you’ve cooked it and sliced it correctly, smoked meat is an art,” Bernamoff said.

The 27-year-old amateur restaurateur was chided by friends into starting Mile End, whose name refers to a Montreal neighborhood. He took a break from Brooklyn Law School to share his sandwich with the rest of the world.

Though he won’t open for a few weeks, the interior of the 25-by-25-foot deli is finished. Nice touches include tables made out of wood salvaged from bowling alleys, schoolhouse style lamps, and a deep counter so diners can eat their sandwich while watching Bernamoff slicing someone else’s.

And no matter when you want your pastrami (er, smoked meat), Bernamoff’s got you covered: he’ll scramble it into eggs for early risers or serve it up with beer for night owls. And all meals come with Bernamoff’s excellent homemade pickles and pickled tomatillos (which never had a name in a Brooklyn deli).

If you think it’s brash to open a Jewish-style deli — serving a meat that could arguably be considered Brooklyn’s national dish — it is. But Bernamoff knows that Brooklyn’s smoked meat golden age has passed.

“Look, people don’t do delis here like they used to,” Bernamoff said. “And Montreal has an infectious vibe that I wanted to recreate here.”

Mile End (97A Hoyt St. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street) will open in January. For info, e-mail or visit

Updated 5:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Martin from Williamsburg says:
I think it’s brash to open a Jewish-style deli — serving a meat that could arguably be considered Brooklyn’s national dish.
Dec. 17, 2009, 10:39 am
Jk from bhill says:
John's on target. Don't bring us your stinkin' pastrami from Montreal. WE know pastrami. What do you know -- pancake wannabee crepes?

By the way, this guy's menu (found online at doesn't feature pastrami.
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:43 am
Mike from Downtown B'klyn says:
Are Montreal bagels better than NY bagels?

What's the defference?
Dec. 17, 2009, 12:14 pm
John Martin from Williamsburg says:
It's just so brash, I find it hard to believe this Canadian's brashness. Perhaps brashness like that is respected in his country, but down here we just find it rather brash.
Dec. 18, 2009, 4:49 am
Conrad from Brooklyn Heights says:
Smoked meat is definitely different. I can't wait for this place to open. And regarding the bagel difference, i think basically montreal bagels are smaller, more dense and chewy.

PS I find John Martin's brash-shock rather brash. Perhaps brashness like that is respected in Williamsburg, but in South Brooklyn we just find it rather brash.
Dec. 18, 2009, 10:16 am
barry from Brooklyn heights says:
At least his menu makes it clear [if you understand yiddish] that his place isn't kosher
Dec. 18, 2009, 10:51 am
Andrew Porter from Bklyn Heights says:
As has been explained many times, Montreal Smoked Meat is *not* pastrami. The Brooklyn Paper gets it wrong.

I will show up wearing my Schwartz's cap and my Dunn's t-shirt. And bring money.
Dec. 18, 2009, 11:49 pm
Caitlynn Marshall from Crown Heights says:
As a fellow montrealian in Brooklyn, i say more power to him. The people here in brook-land are just full of bull. The food is junky, especially the smokey jewish meat. Our french candaian smokey meat jews are better, hands down. And if you don't believe me, then you can eat! (eat our smokey meat I mean)

Je suis smoked meat lover!
Dec. 21, 2009, 10:43 am
Caitlynn Marshall from Crown Heights says:
What about a comparisson taste test, Montreal Smokey Meats vs. Vancouver Moist Salted Brisket Jerky - a real battle of the Brooklyn Canadians. Are you up to the challenge BP? Can you handle our Canadian meat?
Dec. 22, 2009, 9:12 am
Terry from Brooklyn, N.Y. says:
When I was in Montreal I ate at Schwartz's and had a very happy experience and hope to have the same here. To me it would be another choice and a welcome change. Open up your minds. No need to bash......
Dec. 24, 2009, 4:12 pm
John Martin from Williamsburg says:
I think it’s brash to open a Jewish-style deli like Schwartz's in Montreal — serving a meat that could arguably be considered Brooklyn’s national dish. I don't care what Terry says.

And to Caitlynn Marshall from Crown Heights, do you people have visas? I don't think that we need immigrants coming down here to take over our meat business - please leave that to us Americans.
Dec. 26, 2009, 9:09 am
D from Bensonhurst says:
Since I see he's got a ring on, does he have a single brother?
Jan. 28, 2010, 2:52 pm
Mikey from Sometimes the Slope/sometimes Staten Island says:
I kind of get it that John Martin is being funny (or trying to be) by describing it as "Brash" (or chutzpah) for Montreal-style smoked meat to invade Brooklyn, but if he got the point, Montreal smoked meat is NOT pastrami--which came from the Romanian Jews, fewer of whom settled in M'real Yes, there are Jews in Montreal (a lot) and this is their take on a Jewish deli standard. I am also looking forward to having the Montreal bagels, which I understand Mile End is bringing down from Montreal daily--it remains to be seen how fresh they will keep in the 5-hour journey down south. The Montreal bagel is also a special art. Not necessarily better than a NY bagel, but a different style. As a son of Canadian Jewish transplants, it is good to see the tradition I met on childhood visits to the grandparents in Montreal represented here.
Jan. 30, 2010, 11:29 pm
Ruby Tuesday from Ditmas Park West says:
I was looking around my former neighborhood trying to find a small place like "Mile end" for me to open a food store with delicacies of my native country Argentina, something that my wife and I know how to cook really well , so I was a little down and frustrated because I can't find anything in my price range and boom I found Mile End Deli, I got a meat sandwich; I'm not from New York so may not have complete authority on the whole jewish meat / deli thing, but I'm from Buenos Aires and freaking know about meat and this guy does know how to cook it . So is not Brooklyn's national dish but it's a damn good sandwich, my spirits are up now after the meal and I know what you did have to go through in order to be there . So... from one good cook to another , good luck to you and keep up with the good tasty food and the good vibe
Feb. 2, 2010, 8:34 pm
Paul says:
Just had the Smoked meat sandwich, and the poutine w/gravy. It's friggin' amazing. I've had great pastrami...I'll take this over anything i've had, I think.
Feb. 5, 2010, 2:11 pm

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