“Tell him Leonard Cohen sent you” Leonard Cohen, Lou Pomanti, 10 Smoked Meat Sandwiches, & A Forgotten Brisket

“Leonard Cohen? Is that the tailor that’s just down there?”1


And what about the Prime Minister, being a woman, was she really taken with Leonard?

Yes. Everyone was rapt. There was another night after a gig where Leonard said, “Let’s go back to my house.” Cohen had bought three row houses in the early 70s when they were giving Montreal real estate away. He rents one out, lives in one and donated the other to a group of Buddhist monks. When we got to his place, ya know, it’s nothing special; just a townhouse in an ethnic area somewhere around St Laurent or Portugal Square, I think. Me, Leonard and our bass player Scott end up sitting around Leonard’s kitchen table, which is a 60s Formica-like table directly beside a forty year old stove. We’re sitting there drinking red wine when Leonard starts telling a story from his childhood. Growing up in Montreal, his father worked in the ship yards and Leonard would go down to the yard and watch his father. Suddenly Leonard says, (laughs), “Let’s get some smoked meat sandwiches”. Now you have to understand, Leonard’s a Buddhist monk. He’s drinking red wine and now he wants a smoked meat sandwich! I said, “You tell me where to go Leonard, and I’ll get them.” He tells me, “go to this place, ask for Peter and tell him Leonard Cohen sent you”. On the way over I’m thinking, I’m gonna get myself a whole brisket!

I think I know the deli you’re speaking of, but the name escapes me.

It’s not Moisha’s, it’s the other one. So I go in the deli and say, “Hi Peter, my name’s Lou. I need a brisket and 10 sandwiches. And uh, Leonard Cohen sent me.”

You must’ve felt silly saying that!

Peter says, “Leonard Cohen? Leonard Cohen? (long pause) Is that the tailor that’s just down there?” I’m like, “no no no, Leonard Cohen the songwriter!” And Peter said, “oh, I’m sorry but there are many Leonard Cohen’s in this neighbourhood.” Peter didn’t even know him! (much laughter)

Oh my god, that’s funny!

I got the sandwiches and a whole brisket for myself, right. And when I get back to the house, I say to Leonard, “Put this brisket in your fridge and when I leave in an hour, don’t let me forget it.” But when I left, I forgot it.

Of course.

Realizing this, I call Leonard from the back of a cab. Leonard answers and says, “You forgot your brisket.” I said, “I have to leave at 8 in the morning to catch a train”. He tells me, “Come by before you leave. I get up early, so it’ll be fine.” At eight the next morning, I leave my hotel telling the cab driver we have to make a stop on the way to the station. The cab pulls up Leonard’s street, and there… at eight in the morning is Leonard Cohen. Leonard Cohen standing in the street, outside his house… dressed in a suit with a fedora on his head! He was standing there waiting, dressed like that at 8 in the morning… holding my brisket!! (much laughter!)

What a great story!

You’ll never see Leonard Cohen in anything but a suit.


Note: Among Lou Pomanti’s many musical credits is his service as pianist for the “Leonard Cohen introduces Anjani” Blue Alert performances.

Credit Due Department: Linda Sturgess discovered and shared this delicious anecdote. Photo from Lou Pomanti website press kit.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted May 13, 2014 at DrHGuy.com.

  1. Excerpted from “Lisa McDonald’s One-On-One with Lou Pomanti – Part 2” By Lisa McDonald (posted January 14, 2010 at Lou Pomanti Music). Note: Another source dates this episode in 2006. []

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