Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Au Pied de Cochon - Review

Au Pied de Cochon - Highly Recommended

536 East Duluth, Montreal, Quebec, H2L 1A9

Phone: 514-281-1114

D'Artagnan and some fellas took me for a food tour/bachelor party in Montreal. There's only one place that I knew I had to go to - Au Pied de Cochon translated as At the foot of the pig. And that foot was oh so tasty. I've been dying to check this place out after Bourdain traveled there for his No Reservations show. It definitely lived up to the hype. Overall, I give the restaurant a 89/100.

My Menu

1) Foie Gras Cromesquis *
2) Venison Tartare **
3) Foie Gras Poutine **
4) Foie Gras Terrine ***
5) Country style pate *
6) PDC's melting pot **
7) Stuffed Pied de Cochon with Foie Gras ***
8) Duck Magret in a Mushroom Sauce *
9) La Coupe de Pied de Cochon (5kg) *
10) Confit Lamb Shank

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way
* Good

** Great
*** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) Deep fried Foie Gras croquettes. Crisp on the outisde and liquid foie gras on the inside. Wished the liquid was warmer, but it was still tasty.
2) Venison tartare was amazing. Perfect texture with the egg yolk, great fattiness in the meat, and amazing flavor of vension and the cornichons.
3) Poutine is the national after bar/club dish of Montreal. The dish is basically fries, gravy, cheese curds (think mozzarella), and foie gras. Not refined at all, but just super fun to eat. I want one now...
4) Definitely a what the f moment with the terrine. Such a soft and sweet terrine. It melted in your mouth with little resistance and the flavor was heavenly. Definitely a must have dish.
5) A nice flavorful pate with a blood gelatin type thing. Usually not a big fan of pig blood, but this had a nice sweet, wine drenched flavor. Good stuff.
6) I believe this was PDC's melting pot at least. Basically, mashed taters, blood sausage, pork belly, and regular pig sausage. This thing was off the hook. Such an orgy of meats, flavors, and textures - it was spectacular. Oh, and like the previous dish I was shocked at how good the blood sausage was. Usually not a big fan of blood sausage, but I loved it here - definitely th
e best I've ever had.
7) A ridiculous what the f moment and my favorite dish of the entire trip. K, this dish is basically stewed pig feet that is stuffed with foie gras and fried. This thing is scary to look at as it's basically a whole pigs foot - look closely at the picture above and you'll see the wee little piggy is missing something. Any who, texturely this is such a glorious dish...crispy on the outside, gelatiny on the inside with little treasures of pork meat hidden inside. Such a great pork flavor and add the foie gras and you have tasty cholesterol goodness...Btw - this thing tastes great at 4am.
8) Soft duck texture that had good flavor. Topped with mushrooms cooked in what appeared to be the Asian Maggi sauce. Good stuff.
9) A huge 1 pound pork chop roasted. Since it is so gi-normous, the outer shell of the chop is overcooked and actually pretty dry. But, once you get to the inside, it's perfectly juicy and a great pork flavor.
10) The only miss for me. Usually, lamb shank should have a very tender and soft texture that falls off the bone. This didn't. It wasn't necessarily dry and it had good flavor, but it was texturely disappointing to me.

Overall Restaurant Experience (89/100)

  • Food 8.9/10 – Very homey, stick to your ribs type food. Nothing fancy about it, just amazing eats.
  • Service 8.0/10 – Waiter was extremely nice and helpful, but I assume that maybe because D'Artagnan was speaking French to him. The first wave of food came out very quickly. Unfortunately, the second wave of food took 30+ minutes to arrive. Probably due to the fact that we crushed the first wave in 10 minutes. Btw - they vacuum seal the left overs for you. So awesome...
  • Atmosphere 8.8/10 – My type of place. Bistro type atmosphere, so very casual. Some guys were in t-shirts so completely unpretentious. Decor was like an almost nicer diner...there was a bar that people sat at where the chefs cooked in front of you. Standard mirrors on the wall. Crowd consisted of large groups, families and couples. Relatively large place maybe seating 70 people. D'Artagnan made the reservation 4 days in advance and we got the 6-8pm time slot and were seated properly. When we left the line was basically out the door...a packed place.
  • Price 9.0/10 – For the amount and quality of food, it was a phenomenal price point. $100 a head including tip. Some of the entrees were for 2-3 people, so we probably ordered enough food for 7 people, though we only had 5. This also included 2 bottles of wine and armagnac from 1979.
Closing Comments
Spectacular stuff, though in retrospect we should have ordered some vegetables...still worth it though. Great times with some great friends.

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