Went to Caplansky's @ the Monarch Tavern for lunch today. It was their first day of business. I had the combo (smoked meat sandwich (medium), fries, coleslaw and a pickle. Oh yeah, and a Cott's cherry :-)
I was sceptical, as I am with every new place that opens up in TO. So many places are disappointing, but this place was anything but.
The smoked meat was great. Well spiced, well marbled, meltingly fatty, tender - just about perfect. I can't believe that I'm actually saying this, but Zane Caplansy's smoked meat is equal to or might be even better than Schwartz's. Definitely superior to the smoked meat at Centre Street Deli, and I don't have to drive up to cottage country to get it.
Fries were good, not JK good, but good. And the coleslaw was excellent. More often that not, coleslaw is way too sweet, more like a dessert than a salad. Not this one. Great vinegar and onion flavour with a hint of sweetness. Best coleslaw I've had in a long time.
Embee wrote that the location inside the Monarch is problematic. For me, it's conveniently located and it feels right. What do those commercials say? - "About as far from Disney as you can get" - or something like that). Not the traditional style Jewish deli - but for me, it works. I think it's cool that a Jewish deli is shoehorned inside a downscale tavern/beer hall in what is now an Italian/Portuguese neighbourhood.
Embee, I hope you're wrong that deli mavens wouldn't go there on a bet. If the deli mavens you're referring to know anything about what real smoked meat should be, they'll be lining up around the corner.
Please, please go eat at Caplansky's. Make Zane's new Jewish deli a success. I want it to last a long time. But I hope it doesn't get too big... (I'm such a pessimist - I'm already thinking that he'll get too big, try to expand or franchise, and end up ruining it :-)
Check out the posting on Save the Deli about today's opening (http://www.savethedeli.com/)
Long Live Caplansy's, Toronto's New King of Smoked Meat.