In Montreal, where this magnificent thing was born, they call it a smoked meat sandwich, or a sandwich a la viande fumee, and it is indeed a relative of New York's pastrami sandwich—a staple born of the city's Jewish delis, and a descendant of Eastern Europe's smoked meat traditions. On trips to Montreal, I have spent many a snowy afternoon standing in line outside the revered 80-year-old Schwartz's delicatessen on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, salivating before the steamy front window, where a dozen or so spice-coated hunks of beef are always piled up haphazardly, and wondering what makes this brined and seasoned meat different from the version I get at Katz's or Second Avenue Deli in New York. And now I know. As Noah Bernamoff, the Montreal native who's behind Mile End, explains in an interview with Gothamist, the distinction is to some degree a butcher's point: in Montreal, they use the prime inner portion of the brisket, not just the fattier back end (the front end is usually used for corned beef, he says). It's also a matter of smoke: in many places, including Montreal, neither smoked beef nor pastrami tends to be smoked in the traditional way anymore, because of health code regulations and cost.