Pastrami is like bbq to me, one of those meaty technique heavy cooking processes that I don't quite have a grip on. People are very opinionated about methods, resulting flavors and regional styles. Me, I'm completely naïve and unqualified to make any sweeping statements so I'm just giving a quick synopsis.
Schwartz's is like the Katz's of Montreal, if that means anything to you. In Montreal they call their style of brisket viande fumée (smoked meat) and I honestly don't know what separates it from what we do to our meat in America (I'd have to do a side by side taste test). Schwartz's sandwiches are smaller and more manageable than the towering NYC deli styles, but they only cost $4.50. (I was just poking around blogs where people were saying that they couldn't finish their sandwiches, which is ridiculous because I was just going to say that I thought they were the perfect size, filling, but not sickeningly so. Maybe I have an eating disorder.) We got two apiece and some pepperoni sticks for the road. You can also ask for lean, medium fatty or fatty cuts. Only a freak would get lean. I played both sides with the medium.
There's always a line. It's not initially apparent, but queuing on the left is for a table and the right is for take out. We stood awhile in the left hand formation before deciding to get our sandwiches to go because we needed to get on the road back to NYC. But it looked like tables popped up with regularity. At least while waiting you get a chance to see how others order (and a glimpse of the briskets piled in the front window) so you look educated when you eventually reach the counter.
Schwartz's * 3895 St. Laurent, Montreal, Canada