Where do I begin. Au Pied De Cochon has been on the list for a very long time. When I first heard of this crazy French man Martin Picard and his love of all things pork with a side of foie gras, I knew I had to go. The thing is, I don’t go to Montreal very often, which is why this one has stayed on the list for so long.
Walking from our hotel took about 40 minutes, and was the easy choice knowing the expected volume of calories to come. The restaurant is located on Duluth Ave, a quaint and cozy locale, loaded with shops and restaurants. Being a silly man, I needed to book our table on the the same day and that left me with one option, 5PM. Now, I know many who would never eat this early, but it has it’s perks. For example, the service is all but guaranteed to be good as the restaurant is quiet, the food always arrives in a timely fashion, and you get out early enough to enjoy other adventures. Like a slow walk back to the hotel in which you can grab a nice bottle of wine.
The Foie Gras Poutine is magical. It may be the best poutine I’ve ever eaten. The fries were perfectly crisp. The cheese curds were squeaky. The gravy was loaded with flavour. The foie gras was tender and delicious. Honestly, unless you are somehow scared to eat foie gras, you owe yourself the courtesy to have this dish before you die.
Before I get to the mains, I just want to mention that the bread is fantastic. I know a lot of restaurants buy or make fresh bread, but with bread kind of in my ballpark, let me tell you that this baguette is batting a perfect 10. The flavour, the touch, the crackle of it’s thin bubbly crust. Topped with good butter, this was unlike any baguette I’ve had in a long time.
Just like the poutine, I’ve heard a lot about the Duck In a Can dish. You can see the ingredients on the can below, but just imagine a beautiful duck breast with the thickest layer of fat you’ve ever seen. Now, separate the skin from the breast and jam in a huge hunk of foie gras. Cook it with a demi-glace, cabbage, spices, and garlic, before serving on top of baguette and root vegetable puree. I’m pretty sure the only thing that escaped my mouth for the next five minutes was moans and laughter. It was good.
There was a handful of specials on when we visited. The Maple Ham sounded delicious and it didn’t disappoint. When it was plopped down, I felt sorry for the wait staff who were getting a workout every time they delivered this dish. The hunk of ham was the size of a medium child’s arm. HUGE! Loaded with flavour, this is the tender of hunk of ham we all wish we could serve at Christmas.
Dessert was simple, with a choice to continue the maple theme – Maple Crème Caramel. Soft, delicate custard loaded with maple. The coffee arrived with steamed milk and maple syrup, another nice touch if you ask me.
Leaving Au Pied de Cochon, I couldn’t have been happier. To celebrate a birthday weekend, in a restaurant I’ve always wanted to eat at, and to leave with out any small hint of something out of place, all added up to a magical experience. The service, the food, the room…the foie gras, all of it was perfect.