Lox + Schmear
Lox + Schmear cold smokes their own salmon in house, and specializes in sandwiches on Montreal-style St. Urbain bagels loaded with Mendel’s cream cheese. They make this Jewish classic as local as possible.
It’s an ode to the Levine family, one of whom owns this place. Childhood memories of squeezing into the family car for trips to Montreal where they’d eat bagels and lox on the hotel bed inspired the simple concept here.
Family pictures from bar and bat mitzvahs as long ago as 20 years dot the white walls of this minimalist space. When I inquire about the large empty space at the front of the restaurant, owner Lev tells me I wouldn’t believe how it fills up with strollers and wagons in this family-oriented neighbourhood.
Everything starts with BAP certified Atlantic salmon, cold smoked over a three-and-a-half day process inside a custom built cedar smoker that makes the whole place smell just a little like campfire.
You can design your own bagel here, by simply getting your choice of plain, sesame, poppy seed, or vegan and gluten free bagel ($2) or bagel with cream cheese ($4.75) and choosing various additions from the menu.
You can also opt for house-blended dill and chive or horseradish schmears for an additional cost.
There’s also a list of sandwiches, including The OG ($9) with lox, cream cheese, tomato, red onion, and capers. Simple, satisfying, salty, creamy, with sweet salmon and crunchy veggies, this is a classic.
The Fancy Fancy ($9.50) amps it up for just a little extra cost, adding cucumber, house grown alfalfa sprouts and fresh dill to the mix.
This one hits all the marks for bagels and lox fans.
The Vegan ($9.50) offers an option for those who can’t eat fish or cheese.
It’s topped with house made cashew cream cheese (that could be a bit firmer, though it’s flavourful) and all the crunchy fresh veggies they have on a vegan and gluten free bagel.
Propellor dark roast ($2.25) or cherry soda ($1.50) makes the perfect accompaniment.
All products are available to take home, with salmon for $9.50/150g, cream cheese for $3.25 - $4/150g, and bagels for $5/half dozen.
The Lox Box ($40) with a half dozen St. Urbain bagels, 300g lox, 300g plain cream cheese, tomato, red onion, capers, dill, cucumber, and alfalfa sprouts sounds like a picnic lover’s dream.
This former beauty bar has really been transformed, and it’s a boon to the constantly growing St. Clair West neighbourhood. It's accessible and proud to be an openly queer-friendly, queer-owned community business, doing one thing really well.