If you’ve ever lived on Edmonton’s south side, or for that matter, if you drive down 34th avenue on a regular basis, you might just be asking yourself why. Or, for those unfamiliar with the area; why would I set foot in The Steak Out? Not exactly known for anything, other than being a scuzzy watering hole, there probably isn’t much reason to go. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one reason…
For what amounted to probably 6 months last year, The Steak Out was utilizing the standard roadside signage to get across its message. Its message was very clear and very promising; Best Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich in Town! Now, I’m all for self promotion, but I rarely fall for the “best in town” propaganda. However, when it comes to the availability, or lack of availability I should say, for quality Montreal style smoked meat in Edmonton, I’m not too picky.
Walking into the restaurant, I was taken aback by the strong smell of smoke. I don’t know how many packs of cigarettes were consumed during its hey-day, but it reminded me of my first job at a bingo hall. Let’s just say that it looks like the 80’s, and smells like I just ate a 3 day old half smoked cigarette. Good thing there was only one customer, as I didn’t want to hang around very long. The menu is a mix of everything; pea soup, grilled cheese, steak, hamburgers, BLT’s. Basically, if you grew up in the West, this menu would suit your diner needs. This is of course until you get to the section on smoked meat. Offering a three sizes, regular, deluxe, or super large (sorry I forget the name), your sandwich will come with a pickle and two sides.
Deciding to go big or go home, I went with the super large and took two sides that came highly recommend; coleslaw, and potato salad. With a few minutes to wait, I took a seat and quickly noticed a deli style cooler loaded with packages of Montreal smoked meat. Upon closer inspection, I discovered they sell Lester Deli smoked meat; not a bad choice. With at least a dozen packages of meat waiting to be warmed and cut, I think it’s safe to assume they are doing fairly good meat business.
The potato salad seemed pretty generic which was a let down as the cashier mentioned it was really good. The coleslaw was, how can I say this, different. The sauce had no vinegar tang, rather it was smooth and creamy.. The cabbage had also lost some bite, but I think it went better with the dressing in its limp state. The sandwich, was exactly what I expected. Two slices of light rye, layered with standard yellow mustard and topped with a heaping amount of meat. The meat leaned towards lean, but small pockets of fat were still to be found. The uniform slices of meat would have me believe this is machine cut; not giving you the chunky love of a hand slice. But then again, some like it paper thin, and some like it thick. It was warm, and glistened with a fatty moisture that started to absorb into the bread. Not bad..not bad at all.
With an interior that clearly needs, but may never get, an upgrade, and a menu that screams for an overhaul, this hole –in-the-wall pulled off a solid smoked meat sandwich. And just may be the place to go on the south side for a quick fix. Unless of course, anyone can tell me where else to grab this delicatessen treat.