Dunn's Famous Montreal Smoked Meat is a Quebec institution founded in 1927 by Meyer Dunn. It uses traditional recipes that include unique brine, proprietary light rye sourdough bread and always hand sliced, prepared to order, your-choice-of lean to fat, AAA beef brisket.
I notice this new restaurant, decided to order take out and tried the giant montreal smoke meat and their chocolate cake.
I found the rye bread to be dry and wish they had toasted it. They did put lots of meat in the sandwich and took my first bite. I thought the sandwich was okay, had flavour in the meat, and it filled me up. I only wish the bread was better and this meal would have met my expectations. The Chocolate cake was amazing, super moist, lots of chocolate, incrediblly taste and was dizzles in chocolate & caramel sauce. I loved it, will be back again for their chocolate cake, and try something else on the menu.
Good spot to order ahead and have it ready for pick up. Cake is excellent.
I had heard rave reviews from a couple of friends, so I had to try it out. The sandwich was OK, I've had better at Omnitzki's. The onion rings were tasteless, though. The coleslaw was just shredded cabbage, as far as I could tell, with no discernible flavor. Overall, not bad, but nothing to rave about, either.
Similar to other reviews I was really looking forward to Dunn's when it was announced that they would be opening a restaurant here. It looks nice inside, but just didn't seem to have any real atmosphere, seemed there was way too much staff for the amount of customers.
The food itself was a huge disappointment. I'm used to ordering the smoked meat medium and it being nice, tender and juicy. Instead I'm left with a rather dry sandwich. Don't bother trying to squirt mustard on it at the table, the "stay clean" heinze bottle (who uses Heinz mustard anyway?) will output way too much. It really is a shame that they don't have a more classic squeeze bottle.
Fear not though, one doesn't have to go as far east as Montreal for a good smoked meat sandwich. Instead just as far as Estrella's in Langley. :)
But unfortunately my visit there this weekend was a complete letdown. I was really excited to try Dunn's, as I heard about their "Festival" where they were offering a sampler of of 6 poutines for $17.99. I brought my friend (who's from Quebec and was excited to know that a Dunn's had opened up here in Vancouver) and I felt really bad cause it was obvious we were both trying to hide our disappointment.
The place was relatively empty on a Friday night. The inside layout is designed in such a way to make it an attractive place to hang out with some friends and watch the hockey game, but personally I didn't like how much open empty space there was, it made it awkward and less cozy - and complete with all the new furniture and decor made the place seem sort of sterile. We asked our server how long they've been open for and she said "since November, so about 2 and a half to 3 months now". I think she meant 3 and a half to 4 months if my math is correct. Anyways we ordered the festival sampler, the seafood chowder which our server said was superb, and the mac and cheese.
6 out of 6 of the poutine samplers were disappointing, their gravy is awful, it has no depth to it and tasted more like bland salty grease. The chilli/italian toppings on it were freaking cold and lacked any real spice. The seafood chowder was HORRIBLE, the mussels in it were not fresh at all and tasted like it had been defrosted, frozen, defrosted, frozen...the shells were broken into shards and the meat was fishy and brittle, the salmon was dried up and fishy, and the tomato base tasted like it was from a can. I barely had a millimetre of the bowl and when our server came to clear our dishes she didn't even ask why. As a server myself whenever I see that a customer hasn't touched a certain dish I ALWAYS ask why to see if I can remedy it, but our server didn't even come by for a quality check until after we were finished and we had to ask for refills of pop after sitting with empty glasses. The only palatable thing was the mac and cheese, which was tasty but for $14.99 you would kind of expect it to be better than Kraft dinner.
Considering their poutine was a huge disappointment and the soup was a complete write-off, including two pops we essentially paid almost $60 with tax and tip for a mac and cheese. I walked away feeling like I had just been conned into something and will never return.
I am a huge fan of Montreal smoked meat and while attending McGill in the 60's I ate at Schwartzs, Dunns and Bens (now closed) on many occasions, so I was eagerly awaiting the opening of Dunns in Vancouver.
While I found the staff to be enthusiastic and the decor reminiscent of an old diner I was sorely disappointed with the smoked meat as it was certainly not as I remembered it to be. I found the meat to be extremely dry even when I ordered it sliced "fat". Part of the problem may be that we now serve meat so lean that the taste has been sacrificed in favour of health. Oh for the good old days!! When I go to Dunns I don't think of a healthy meal but instead I want something that tastes good with all of the fat that is entailed in that.
Won't be back unfortunately
I'm a big fan of Montreal Smoked Meat having lived in Montreal and been to Ben's and the original Dunns on St. Catherine's St. So when I heard Dunns was coming to Vancouver, I was excited.
There are booths with small tables in the front of the place. Pop music plays in the background. The seats are uncomfortable and the table is tiny. A coffee, cream and sugar container, and my sandwich took up all the table space. How two people can possibly eat together, I'm not sure. Maybe these are for singles as I saw the booths in the back occupied with couples or more. My server was good at getting my order but never came back to refresh my coffee. I eventually had to wave someone down.
I ordered latkes and the small 'medium' smoked meat sandwich. Smoked meat at Dunns comes either lean, medium or fat. The latkes came with sour cream. I ask for apple sauce and was told it was not available but the server would ask the kitchen. A few minutes later and voila, applesauce appears! The latkes were greasy and not very good. The smoked meat sandwich was packed with lots of meat. I noticed the bread had been pre-spread with mustard on both sides but there was no mustard on the table. I asked for extra mustard and was given a mustard container from which a somewhat watery stream gushed. Warning: the hole in the container is large and not needle nosed. When I picked up the sandwich, the bread started falling apart. I mean pieces of it just fell onto the plate and the sandwich would not stay together in my hand. The smoked meat, while generous was not very tasty (despite being 'medium'). I also wanted to try some hot mustard or Djon on the meat but none of these condiments were available.
The mediocre smoked meat sandwich and greasy latkes were reasonably priced but coupled with downtown parking on Seymour, uncomfortable seating, annoying music and the lack of standard condiments I'd expect for any place serving smoked meat, all add up to a big no thanks, I'm not coming back.
Having actually been to Montreal for a smoked meat sandwich, I was surprised to see the menu that dunn's Vancouver came up with. It has been a while since I've been to Dunn's, but this is not the classic deli I was hoping for. Can't we just get a good smoked meat sandwich in Vancouver!!! The sandwich was okay, I've had better. The room was okay. Not the typical deli. More like a red robin. The service was good. Just disappointed that we can't get good smoked meat here. I will have to wait or a road tip to Montreal.
Dunns has made me a huge fan of smoked meat and I love their downtown vancouver restaurant, the value is incredible. The reason I write is because I stopped at Kaplan's the other day now that I am officially a smoked meat fan and was so disapointed. Compared to Dunns Kaplan's was really expensive, the bread way too soft and the mustard too sweet. I actually felt ripped off compared to Dunns, though I will say Kaplan's pickles were better