Au Pied de Cochon January 11, 2014
- Address: 536 Avenue Duluth St E, Montreal, QC
- Visited: 12/07/2013, Dinner, 2 people
- Cuisine: French
- Rating: 4.0 $$$$
- Website: http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca/
The first time I heard about Au Pied de Cochon was from the BF talking about their famous Duck in a Can dish. He even went especially on a weekend trip to try it, a trip that was planned before we started dating and without me. Needless to say, I felt robbed. Good thing he was happy to remedy this with our own Montreal food trip in December. While we didn’t end up ordering the Duck in a Can this time, wanting to try more from the menu, I’d say he made up for it.
Atmosphere: Firstly, the restaurant is hard to spot from the street. There is no exterior signage, only large windows into the dining area and a discreet menu posted. Located on the south side, look for the street number atop the doorway. The interior is lit with warm lighting, wooden tables and while they were cozy, the feel was more intimate than crowded.
Service: We arrived for our 9pm reservation to a full line of waiting customers. They were running late that night and we waited a good 30 minutes in the small doorway area before our table was ready. Reservations are a must. It also took me a good 3-4 days of back and forth emails before our reservation was confirmed. Although their website said they would return email requests with a phone call, my entire exchange was via email and with 24 hour lapse in between communications. I’m glad I contacted them early. Our server was friendly, albeit a bit “nose in the air” attitude. I asked for a red wine recommendation, French, not too dry with fruity flavours and he suggested a White Zinfandel from California. My face at that point: O_O, but maybe it was my mistake to ask for something “not too dry”. Oh wells. The rest of the night was fine except for the long lull between our appetizers and entrees.
Food: We had studied and researched this menu for days. At first I wanted to try the Pig’s Head, but the BF was worried about getting squeamish once we started to dig in (see his reaction to the lobster sashimi a JaBistro). We went with our second option, the Guinea Hen for two with a mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes. The BF doesn’t eat mushrooms but we were told that the dish would be incomplete without the sauce, and after having it I agree.
For appetizers, we had the Foie Gras Poutine and the Duck Carpaccio. The Foie Gras Poutine was the dish of the trip. Crispy fries, rich gravy, melted cheese curds topped with a generous helping of seared foie gras. We basically licked the plate clean; this would be my last dinner request. Honestly my vocabulary and composition skills can’t do this plate justice, just go eat it as soon as possible. I enjoyed the Duck Carpaccio but poor BF had to pick around the mushrooms. Each slice was paper thin, doused in olive oil and had a much lighter flavour than beef.
I have to admit, when the Guinea Hen first arrived at the table, it was daunting. I knew there was no way I was about to eat half a small hen, this was especially true after my first bite of the mashed potatoes. The Guinea Hen was served in a dutch oven on top of a bed of fluffy cheese, potatoes and butter. I would guess there was probably more cheese than potato in there. A can of extra mushroom sauce was served alongside the whole thing and I took full advantage of it with each bite. The meat itself was very moist and tender. We packed up a good half of the dish to bring home to Toronto and it made a great dinner the second day.
It was a heavy meal, rich and full of flavour. It was the kind of meal I love to eat at restaurants, the kind that inspires me in the kitchen and makes me feel like I’m eating from the chef’s personal kitchen.