No bull! This Montreal man will change your notion of pastrami forever

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The Brooklyn Paper / Gersh Kuntzman

Call it “pastrami” or call it “smoked meat,” but we call it delicious.

Montreal native Noah Bernamoff is about to forever change Brooklyn deli habits when he opens Mile End, a north-of-the-border-style smokehouse on Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill.

And change them for the better.

In Bernamoff’s home town, the scrumptious cured meat known to generations of Jews (and their gustatory allies) as pastrami is known by the more generic-sounding name “smoked meat.” The similarities are clear: both delicacies derive from highly spiced, cured mounds of fatty brisket — a more evolved sibling of corned beef.

But Montreal’s version also spends hours in a smoker, a lengthy spin that further breaks down the connective tissue and melts the fat into an ooze that keeps everything juicy. Bernamoff hand-cuts the resulting mound of meat and serves it high (but not too high) on rye with his homemade stout mustard.

It’s arguably the best take on Brooklyn’s old standard since that Downtown stalwart Jack’s on Court Street closed decades ago.

“If you’ve cooked it and sliced it correctly, smoked meat is an art,” Bernamoff said.

The 27-year-old amateur restaurateur was chided by friends into starting Mile End, whose name refers to a Montreal neighborhood. He took a break from Brooklyn Law School to share his sandwich with the rest of the world.

Though he won’t open for a few weeks, the interior of the 25-by-25-foot deli is finished. Nice touches include tables made out of wood salvaged from bowling alleys, schoolhouse style lamps, and a deep counter so diners can eat their sandwich while watching Bernamoff slicing someone else’s.

And no matter when you want your pastrami (er, smoked meat), Bernamoff’s got you covered: he’ll scramble it into eggs for early risers or serve it up with beer for night owls. And all meals come with Bernamoff’s excellent homemade pickles and pickled tomatillos (which never had a name in a Brooklyn deli).

If you think it’s brash to open a Jewish-style deli — serving a meat that could arguably be considered Brooklyn’s national dish — it is. But Bernamoff knows that Brooklyn’s smoked meat golden age has passed.

“Look, people don’t do delis here like they used to,” Bernamoff said. “And Montreal has an infectious vibe that I wanted to recreate here.”

Mile End (97A Hoyt St. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street) will open in January. For info, e-mail [email protected] or visit mileendbrooklyn.com.