Tock’s: A Montreal Deli

I’ve spent a lot of meals here in Shanghai with my friend Christina exploring restaurants and other eating adventures, so when I sent her an email complaining we hadn’t eaten together in a while, she responded that we needed to go to Tock’s a soft-opened Montreal Smoked Meats deli located near the east end of Nanjing East Road, near the Bund.

Christina, of course, had arrived ten minutes ahead of me. Because they’re still in soft opening stage, the owner was still giving out sampler platters of the smoked brisket. This is the plate that Christina left for me


For our meal, Christina and I both ordered the smoked meat sandwich. While neither of us are Quebecois, we both come from cities with good delis and good brisket so I would say we would be able to judge the quality of good meat. The sandwich comes with a really nice cole slaw and a wonderful wonderful homemade pickle. They do have pickle platters on their menu as ell.


You can order differing levels of fattiness with your meat: lean, mixed, fatty and extra fatty. I opted for the mixed while Christina had the lean. Really nice mixed of flavoring and with that slow cooking that really makes the brisket very tender. Writing this now, I am craving another sandwich.

As a side dish, we both ordered the poutine. As a non-Canadian, I’ve had a lot less exposure to this mix of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. In fact, my only experience of eating poutine is at the decidedly less than mediocre Shanghai sports bar. This I am less enthusiastic about, to be honest. I may stick to the fries next time, or maybe more meat. Chistina said the cheese curds were a little on the small side.


The sandwich set was a little bit on the expensive side, but I think next time I’d be in for the larger size. Also, to really set it apart as a deli, I would like to see some stuff like egg creams or at least root beer or cream soda. Or is that only a New York deli thing? The quality of the meat was really good though, so very tender and tasty and that is why I’ll be going back.


221 Henan Zhong Lu

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29 Responses to Tock’s: A Montreal Deli

  1. Erin says:

    I believe egg creams and cream soda, etc. are not a deli thing (regardless of whether in Montreal or New York), but a diner thing. I can see why the two might be confused, however!

  2. terence says:

    @erin – Not really a diner thing, but something which emerged out of soda fountains (and here I mean the counters that existed at pharmacies which served soda, not the actual machines) in New York in the early part of the 20th century. But they’re a fairly East Coast/New York thing nowadays to the point where I had never seen one on a menu until going to Katz’s in New York City Which is why I associate them with delis. Whereas I’ve been to diners everywhere from Minneapolis to Texas to LA to the Bay Area and in-between and never encountered an egg cream. But thanks for stopping by!

  3. WoAi says:

    Thanks for posting this? Is this any different to a salt beef sandwich? Selfridges in London has a cafe called The Brass Rail that does a very decent salt beef sandwich, complete with pickle for about 7.50 pounds. If this is anything like that, I’m there tomorrow lunch time!

  4. WoAi says:

    BTW what mediocre sports bar are you referring to? Masse is the only Canadian one I can think of. And Big Bamboo, sort of.

  5. shayne says:

    going over the blog that you wrote and noticed that the address is incorrect and should be 221 in stead of 21


  6. terence says:

    @WoAi – Smoked meat is like brisket from a New York Deli – very moist, flavorful and for everything but the lean, a little fatty.

    @shayne – Noted! Also – for everyone, Shayne is the proprietor of Tock’s! You can read his blog at

  7. terence says:

    @WoAi – It’s Big Bamboo. Which is a crappy sports bar (especially the one near Plaza 66) full of smoke and not very good food. But its close and they play sports on television.

  8. WoAi says:

    @T – BB used to be my regular haunt, even played in their pool league, but it’s the wrong side of town for me as I live, well, close to Tock’s basically!

  9. Terence says:

    @WoAi – BB is filled with creepy foreigners. Oh, hey . ..

  10. WoAi says:

    @T – Yes, that’s why I stopped going. I prefer a bar where I’m the only creepy foreigner!

  11. Terence says:

    @WoAi – Did you go to Tock’s for lunch?

  12. WoAi says:

    Yes, I did. On Thursday. How did you know?

  13. Terence says:

    @WoAi – You had said you were going for lunch. How was it?

  14. WoAi says:

    I did, didn’t I. Was fine. I was feeling poorly s perhaps did not enjoy it fully. Portions were way too big too (for a non-north American). Canadian friend who came with me said it was just like home, so there’s no questioning authenticity.

  15. Terence says:

    @WoAi – Huh, and here I thought the sandwich was too small. Maybe I’m just a fat American.

  16. WoAi says:

    Don’t exaggerate, you’re not fat (by American standards). Although they did have fat American portion sizes for those who required it.

  17. Terence says:


  18. WoAi says:

    Is a review of Stubbs Bar-B-Q coming up soon?

  19. Terence says:

    @WoAi – Not that I know of. Everyone I know that has been there said it’s terrible.

  20. WoAi says:

    @T – Yes, terrible, but that hasn’t stopped you in the past. How was restaurant week at Restaurant Martin? (You walked right in to that one)

  21. Terence says:

    @WoAi – Yeah but its stopped me from writing about it. I actually never made it to Restaurant Martin – I can’t remember why but I had to cancel that week.

  22. WoAi says:

    Oh ok. You probably had to have cocktails with Kobe Bryant or something.

  23. Terence says:

    @Woai – he’s a little busy right now.

  24. Pingback: Tock's, Shanghai - Thirsty Pig

  25. WoAi says:

    Was there last night for a couple of glasses of wine before I moved on to the Westin for dinner.

  26. Terence says:

    @WoAi – Fancy.

  27. WoAi says:

    No, not fancy at all. Aperitivo at Prego (every Thursday) is just 125 RMB for 2 drinks and buffet. Best deal in town. It’s my 3rd week in a row of going.

  28. SinoSoul says:

    I searched, and nowhere in 27 comments + the OP was the word “Jewish” found. Egg cream was invented by Jews in Brooklyn. Chocolate phosphate, IIRC, was invented by Jews in Cleveland. They weren’t just NY “deli” things. They are NY “Jewish” deli things. You aren’t going to find them at Italian deli’s.

    Montreal’s smoked meats, aka, pastrami, aka basturma, also Jewish.

  29. terence says:

    While true, I’m not sure what this is supposed to signify. When one talks about pastrami on rye or matzo ball soup, it’s pretty inherently Jewish. Not sure why one would need to call that out? It’s not like there’s a discussion of salumi or sub sandwiches.

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