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Chazzy

Au Pied de Cochon

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I just returned from a weekend in Montreal, and Au Pied du Cochon was definitely the culinary highlight of the trip.

I went with my friend Kathy, who plays violin in the Montreal Symphony, and enjoys a wonderful food experience as much or more than I do (!). We started with the plogue à Champlain appetizer, which is a buckwheat crepe with bacon, sliced potato, cheddar cheese and foie gras, with a sauce of jus de viande and maple syrup (!). Main course was pied de cochon, but, as noted earlier in the thread, it wasn't just the pig's foot, but the whole shank, run under the broiler and served on a huge oval platter with a saute of probably a half dozen vegetables, mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and cheese curds (a kind of mashed poutine) and a cream gravy. The whole delicious mess was topped with a couple of slices of seared foie gras. A Morgon Vieilles Vignes red was, for me, the perfect accompaniment. (There are some really serious wines on their list, but of course as poor, starving musicians--well, maybe not quite starving after that meal--we couldn't possibly afford them!)

The meal was capped by the best dessert I've had in ages, the pudding chômeur, a baked pudding of cake in the center surrounded by a bubbling maple syrup and butter sauce. The whole meal was totally over the top--sort of a riot of flavors, none of which seem like they should work together, but somehow do.


My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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I should be able to tell you after the coming weekend!


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Any updates? Must haves? Must avoids?

APdC has a new website featuring a current menu (more or less) with prices.

Au Pied de Cochon

Summer is the time for their magnificent seafood platters.

If you get the Guédille (lobster roll), ask them not to melt any aged cheddar over it. IMO, the super sharp cheese overpowers the lobster and salt-cured foie gras.


Edited by rcianci (log)

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Say more about the seafood platters.

Plenty has been written about them already. Picard and staff go to heroic lengths to establish private supply lines for their seafood. The results are pricey but wonderful. The platters are huge multi-tiered affairs with raw and cooked seafood. Sweet and meaty clams, fresh like I haven't had in over 35 years, oysters plump and briny and tasting simply of the sea, oddities (to me anyway) like whelks and periwinkles, cooked mussels, crab legs, lobster claws, crayfish, raw shrimp, succulent soft shell crab tempura.

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Chris, depending on when you are going...

Foie gras pizza is a great ap. The apple tart with foie gras is sublime.

On one trip I did get the stuffed pigs foot, but it is huge. That said, I don't think I've ever not gotten pork.

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The apple tart with foie gras is indeed fine. The Cochonnailles platter, with pate, terrine, cretons, sausages, pickled egg and sometimes pickled venison tongue is also very, very good.

Getting back to seafood, the PDC monster lobster, stuffed with fresh vegetables and served with hollandaise enriched with tomalley and roe is fantastic. Also, if they've doing it this year, I can recommend the lobster poutine. Fries, cheese curds, lobster gravy, topped with lobster claw meat.

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I'm planning an early July drive up to Montreal, mainly to eat at APdC. Am I going to be able to get reservations, or am I too late?

Anyone know what the PDC grilled cheese is?

Thanks in advance for any info. I can't wait to go!

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I suggest you cal them. They would know more than us what their booking situation is.

514.281.1114

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Thanks, Chris. I will be sure to post about my experience in order to whet your appetite.

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Say more about the seafood platters.

Plenty has been written about them already. Picard and staff go to heroic lengths to establish private supply lines for their seafood. The results are pricey but wonderful. The platters are huge multi-tiered affairs with raw and cooked seafood. Sweet and meaty clams, fresh like I haven't had in over 35 years, oysters plump and briny and tasting simply of the sea, oddities (to me anyway) like whelks and periwinkles, cooked mussels, crab legs, lobster claws, crayfish, raw shrimp, succulent soft shell crab tempura.

Thanks for this. I've been snooping through the website and can't get a sense of the differences among those seafood platters. Are they simply about different amounts of the same items, or do some have things others lack?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Thanks for this. I've been snooping through the website and can't get a sense of the differences among those seafood platters. Are they simply about different amounts of the same items, or do some have things others lack?

My PDC seafood platter experience was a couple of years ago. My impression then was that all the platters varied greatly based on availability of product. Please know that there's an element of spontaneity if not downright chaos involved in dining at Au Pied. Picard once said "The fewer your expectations, the better your (dining) experience." Perhaps someone with a more recent experience could give you a better answer than this or perhaps your question would be best answered by your server at the restaurant.


Edited by rcianci (log)

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Had a great meal last Saturday at APDC. We had been walking around the city earlier in the afternoon when we happened upon Duluth, so we walked by the restaurant to check it out. It was far more cozy and unassuming than either of us expected. No sign, either.

When hours later we arrived for the meal (having changed our reservation easily with the gracious folks in the front of the house), I was surprised to see chef Martin there. He was talking with several chefs, manning different stations and overseeing the front with a calm seriousness. The ex-pizzeria space itself affords him a good spot: right between the garde manger station and the stoves, where the ex-pizzeria's counter breaks and he can see, on the right, into the front dining area and, on the left, down the slimmer back area. Through most of the meal (he left around 9p, after we'd been there an hour and a half), he either stood guard or helped out here and there, dipping fingers in this or poking that.

When we walked in, he saw us, too. He didn't break into a cheery "Welcome, my good friend!" smile, nor did he seem to expect that we kiss his ring. It was as if he was wondering, "Here's two more. Let's see if they get it." We made eye contact; I nodded; he nodded, and we sat down at a deuce just off his left.

We started with the cochonnailles, the pork appetizer plate, which we polished off quickly as they prepared the smallest ($48) seafood platter. It was all great, with the rillettes, a kind of summer sausage, and the most finely ground paté standing out. Then came the titanic seafood plate. The crawfish (is that what they were?) were unimpressive, particularly on the same shaved ice as rest of the remarkable oceanic bounty: three different kinds of oysters, razor clams, littlenecks (best I've ever had), whelks, mussels.

The best things on the ice were a couple dozen periwinkles, which I haven't eaten since I gathered them with my mother off the North Atlantic coast as a child. They had been cooked and then tossed with an inky, sticky sauce that tasted of licorice. I'd have better notes if they hadn't thrown me into ecstasy.

Next up were our two mains. The duck in a can was very good -- whatever complicated timing or sourcing issues lead to tough duck were not in evidence -- but the plogue a champlain was stunning, one of the two best foie preparations I've ever had (the other in the Loire valley). I can see why some would find this overpowering, particularly early in the meal, but we both thought it was stunning, and the quality of the ingredients (especially the maple syrup, bacon, and foie) was particularly wonderful.

I don't know how we did it, but we polished off a pouding chomeur before we waddled out.

While we were hanging around a bit at the end, I got into a conversation with the guy in garde manger (didn't catch a name), and he kept saying, "There's no place like this. No place like it." Apparently most of the entire team has been working with chef Martin for years (six for him); the supposed informality that some people read among the very visible staff in the open kitchen is, to me, a sign of ease, familiarity, and collaboration.

We had a great time. It's hard to capture the feeling of it all, particularly given that much of the food has deep emotional resonances with this French-Canadian New Englander. So, to sum reductively: it was one of the best four or five meals I've ever had.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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We went a couple of years back - the seafood platter is simply dependent on what is available and what is good. It is vast, and the quality was outstanding.

Be warned, the portions really are enormous. The place is noisy, buzzing and has verve. Go. Its so Montreal!

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My wife and I visited last month on vacation from Seattle. The more I read about the restaurant and the chef, the more I wanted to eat there! So, I put it on my short "must do" list. Luckily, we were able to get a Sunday reservation on relatively short notice.

Once there, I knew it would be difficult not to stray from my strategy of "everything foie", but I did want to try some of the fresh seafood. I was tempted to start with the seafood platter, (after a pair of the cromesquis!) but, my wife was a little under the weather and didn't feel capable of sharing such a bounty. So, I started with oysters and my wife ordered scallop ceviche and a salad.

I swear I ordered a half dozen, but the waiter brought a dozen plump oysters. I suppose I could have declined the additional six, but I figured that this must be a sign from above. I thoroughly enjoyed them. They definitely had a different flavor profile from Pacific oysters.

I then moved on to the foie stuffed tempura soft shell crab, just because it sounded so over the top that if I didn't try it, I'd always be left wondering about it! It was decadent, but probably would have been nearly as good without the foie. I guess I'd need to do a side-by-side comparison to make sure!

For my entree, I was torn between the "duck in a can" and the foie burger / poutine duo. Having never had poutine before, I figured I might as well have that here. Where else would I ever have it topped with foie?! Not in Seattle! It was an absurdist's delight, though the poutine was a bit salty. It was nicely accompanied by an ice cidre vodka martini.

My wife rallied and really loved the Lemon Meringue Pie. I now regret not having the Maple Syrup Pie, but I lacked room for dessert.

Many lobsters were served that night and the Bison Ribs looked and smelled delicious. But, I'd have to say that the highlight of our meal was the scallop ceviche. So sweet and delightful. Drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and fish roe. Sublime!

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Ordered entirely from the specials at APDC last night and had a fantastic meal. Started with a Chantrelle Soup. Now is the season for the local chantrelles. I had come specifically to sample a special they had been running since earlier in the week; toast topped with sauteed chantrelles, seared scallops and a poached egg. Unfortunately they were out of scallops last night. The soup, however, did not disappoint. It was a thick, creamy puree garnished with a generous amount of sauteed chantrelles, crisp pancetta, fresh egg yolk and brown butter. It was fabulous.

My main was a massive hunk of swordfish roasted in the wood oven. It was served atop a warm salad of smashed potatoes tossed with flakes of smoked swordfish and peppery green olive oil and the whole garnished with a relish of finely chopped tomatoes, shallots, olives and capers. Damn good.

I finished with a warm tart of strawberries and homemade almond paste. This came slathered with a mascarpone cream and topped with tiny, perfect uncooked berries. I thought I had died and went to heaven.

But the best part was sitting at the counter and chatting with the friendly talented cooks and watching them do their thing.


Edited by rcianci (log)

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I ate there a couple of years back. I remember very distinctly my appetizer of smoked mackerel and the lamb shank confit. Both were amazing. And the pudding chomeur was great, of course.

I guess I will have to go back there soon enough, if only to finally try the poutine au foie gras.

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Go Go Go! But make sure you go hungry.

My wife and I went there last winter and began with the codfish fritters--light and fluffy and delicious. Next came the poutine, which was our true reason for going It was decadent and an amazing preparation for a basic comfort food. She had the moose (elk?) liver and I had the Pied du cochon, which was nicely braised. However, I failed in not ordering the full foie gras stuffed pied, which looked amazing every time it went out around me.

The place was packed, and they told us on the phone that there was "only had space at the bar." This turned out to be directly in front of the open kitchen and an amazing spot. My wife got to sit in the stool with the antlers!

Among other things, we had the chance to see some of the "back of the house" stuff as a tray of cassoulet walked by. Also very interesting was watching the "duck in a can" preparation. I will definitely be going back for that one. I also didn't quite have my fill of organ meats, so that needs to be remedied as well.

Martin Picard was a presence throughout the kitchen, but the line cooks were the real show. Watching and listening to a young staff work (and to the flawless transitions between English, French, and "French for the Americans") was a highlight. I would sit at the bar again even if the finest table in the house was available.


Good wine is a necessity of life for me. --Thomas Jefferson

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Is this the same place Anthony Bourdain "pigged out" while doing his No Reservations show in Quebec?


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Is this the same place Anthony Bourdain "pigged out" while doing his No Reservations show in Quebec?

Yep. He sat in the same stool with the antlers where Duck Fat's wife sat.

I have to agree with Duck Fat that the seats in front of the open kitchen are the best in the house. The night I was there they had this crazy dessert that was like a fresh peach pie with an unusually deep crust. Every time someone would order one, the cook would ladle custard over the peaches, filling the crust to the brim. Then he would cover the custard with sugar and reach over to the stove where these heavy iron disks with wrought iron handles were heating directly on the burners. He'd grab one of these "brands" and touch it directly to the sugar. Huge plumes of smoke would shoot up the vent hood and molten sugar would spit everywhere. Finally he'd set the peach pie creme brulee thing in front of the astonished customer seated at the bar.


Edited by rcianci (log)

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Had a lovely meal at PDC. This is one of my favorite restuarants for many reasons. The think i like best is that there i a solid concept behind the restaurant with a very focussed menu. (something many restos lack).

I wanted to post a comment on here, because I am maybe to shy to talk to management in person. Especially given i do not know them. While enjoying a lovely meal at the bar last week, I noticed the busboy recylcing the butter from another table. I found this very unhygenic. Although there is a general lack of hygene in many restos in montreal (speaking from working in the industry).. This was one evident no no that i figured pointing out, would allow for an immeidate correction.

As you know butter is served in a cute metal container at PDC. The same knife i cut my meat with and use to work around my plate containing some of my saliva is the same knife i use to scoop out butter. So this butter could not be reusued. I understand by reusing htis butter a restuanrt can save a couple of thousand dollars a year. However it is not repectful to clients. I suggest a small portion of butter as is given at le meac for example.

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