Sunday, June 22, 2008

Au Pied de Cochon

As I said in our previous post, the only thing we planned in advance for our trip to Montreal was dinner at Au Pied de Cochon. It has received a fair bit of press (even in the US) for its meat-oriented dishes and its audacity to put foie gras on poutine. Looking over the menu (and numerous reports on food blogs), we were definitely excited and the restaurant did not disappoint. As you can tell from our previous post, Michelle decided to take pictures of almost everything we ate, so there will be more food porn below.

We started with "Foie Gras Cromesquis" and "Pickled Bison Tongue". The cromesquis (sorry, no pictures) were basically deep-fried croquettes with molten foie gras inside. Think shanghai soup dumpling, only deep-fried and enhanced by foie gras. Pretty outrageous start to the meal. The pickled bison tongue was very good, but we realized that it wasn't the dish we ordered, which was actually "Tarragon Bison Tongue". Luckily, we still got to try the tarragon bison tongue, which was even better:

Next, we shared the "Plogue a Champlain":

We had read about this dish on food blogs, and I have to admit I was a bit worried that it would be "too much": buckwheat pancakes, potatoes, bacon, and foie gras. But wait there's more! The whole thing was covered in a thick maple glaze. My worries were completely misplaced. This was definitely the best dish of the meal. You know when you have pancakes and bacon? Whether it happens accidentally or intentionally, the best part is the bacon-syrup combination. So take really good bacon, a maple glaze (i.e, real maple not "Log Cabin"), and then add foie gras, and how can you possibly go wrong?

Entree: "Stuffed Pied de Cochon with Foie Gras":

So they take the bone out of the leg of a pig, stuff it with more pig. Then they deep fry the whole thing and top it with mushrooms and fiddleheads and a seared chunk of foie gras. The whole thing is served on garlic-cheese mashed potatoes. And it really was as big as it looks in the picture. This is definitely an entree for two people, and we still only ate about 2/3 of it (and you all know that we're not shy about putting the food away). Maybe part of that was to save room for dessert, "Pudding Chomeur" (basically a biscuit-cake on top of maple soup:

The service was great, but we noticed an interesting quirk about their staffing. The server who took our order did only that, and deliver the bill. There seemed to be about three people of this position in the restaurant. Meanwhile, there were two guys that ran all the food to the tables (these guys were working really hard), and two or three people to refill water, bring bread, etc. I'd be interested to know how they split the tips here.

So that was definitely a pretty spectacular meal, and the prices were quite reasonable. Next time, we'll have to try one of their enormous seafood platters...

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