On a recent Saturday of errand-running, I happened to be in the neighbourhood with Mom, and as luck would have it, Avenue Deli was the only place that didn't appear packed to the brim. Turns out it was just timing, as the place filled up shortly after we were seated.
Avenue specializes in Montreal Smoked Meat and all of its various incarnations (Reubens, etc.) but also offers other sandwiches and soups. It's a traditional deli, offering a big cold crispy kosher pickle with each sandwich, and actual milkshakes (they even have a malted one!) In addition to the pickle, each sandwich comes with your choice of potato chips.
From the regular menu, we chose the tuna melt, and a sweet apple from the daily specials. That sweet apple sandwich, filled with Montreal smoked meat, cream cheese, Swiss cheese and slices of red delicious apple wrapped and grilled in a pita, was one of the best sandwiches I've had in a long time. I know people who believe fruit and meat should not co-mingle (but I'm not one of them) and several of my favourite sandwiches actually incorporate fruit. This was no exception. The fact that it was warmed caused the cream and Swiss cheeses to melt into each other, making it just slightly gooey.
Our other choice, the tuna melt, was an upscale take on the sandwich. Though I'm a tuna fanatic, I generally prefer mine cold (salad, tartar, tataki, etc.) but this sandwich was an update on the typical tuna melt. It was made zingier by the addition of diced dill pickles and an artichoke jalapeno spread. The pita (again, wrapped around the filling and grilled) made this one of the more tidy tuna melts I've encountered, which is always appreciated, especially if you're headed back to work after lunch.
With fast, friendly service and reasonable prices (sandwiches are between $7 - 13), we'll definitely drop back in to Avenue when we're in the Loop.
On the ratings scale:
4 out of 5 stars
#3, 2008 33 Avenue SW