Location: 5631 Steeles Avenue East, Scarborough
Holy crap, SumiLicious. Holy. Crap.
I knew I’d have to check the place out as soon as I read this thread on Chowhound. A new smoked meat place? Yes please. Started by someone who worked at the legendary Schwartz’s in Montreal for 18 years? You had me at “new smoked meat place,” but now I’m really sold. And it’s delicious? Buddy, I’m sold already, you can stop. I’m there.
I’m kind of glad this place is such a trek from where I live, because if it were nearby, I’d be there every single day. It’s smoked meat perfection.
I can’t emphasize this enough: the smoked meat sandwich at SumiLicious is absolutely magnificent. It’s the best smoked meat sandwich that I’ve had in ages. Certainly, it’s the best smoked meat in the city, and it stands side-by-side with any sandwich I’ve had in Montreal or New York. It’s ridiculously good.
The sandwich is a heaping tower of intensely flavourful, ultra-tender, hand-sliced goodness. It’s quite fatty, but that fat is so perfectly cooked it’ll make your knees buckle. It just melts in your mouth like unctuous, luxurious meat butter.
And the meat itself is almost absurdly tender, but retains enough texture that it never feels mushy. It’s perfect.
The flavour is really unique, too. It’s got enough of the classic smoked meat seasoning to be pleasantly familiar, but it’s also got its own thing going on; they’re obviously doing something a little bit different with the spice blend (but don’t ask me specifically what — I’m terrible at identifying spices).
It’s a bit less salty than your typical smoked meat, which lets the beef’s natural flavour shine through more than you’d expect. It’s something special, that’s for sure.
But I mean, don’t take my word for it. Just look at this close-up:
Sexy AF. Downright NSFW. And it’s just as good as it looks.
I also tried the coleslaw, which is a tad too sweet, but otherwise has a nice vinegary bite and is a good foil for the heavy sandwich.
Oh, and it’s delightfully affordable, too: it’s nine bucks (not including the coleslaw), and considering the quality and the sheer size of the sandwich, that’s a crazy deal.
Of course, the question is whether or not they can keep up this insane level of quality. The last couple of high-profile smoked meat joints in the city — Caplansky’s and Ben & Izzy’s — both started out great and then slowly (or not-so-slowly in the case of Ben & Izzy’s) went downhill.
I’m very, very curious to see if SumiLicious can continue to pump out smoked meat of this calibre in the coming months and years. I hope they do, but I’d advise you to go there now so that you don’t lose out on basking in its magnificence.