Throughout the years, there are countless articles written in magazines and websites that rave about our culinary scene, and food critics worldwide almost unanimously agree that Montreal is among the top gastronomy destinations in the world. Imbued with an historic French character and influenced by an influx of immigrants from all around the world, the city slowly evolved its own brand of cuisine to embrace the many different flavors that represents its diverse population today. These flavors are no strangers to Chef Martin Picard, whose creativity is translated into every dish at his famously hard-to-book establishment, Au Pied de Cochon.
On a recent visit by one of our Taste Curators, BLINKCO had the opportunity to experience this storied establishment, as colorfully described by globetrotting celebrity chef, the late Anthony Bourdain. One can talk about the waiting staff’s attentiveness to great service, or the boisterous atmosphere of the dining room. But the single most descriptive word of the total package is: RICH. Rich, because they will ensure every guest walks… no, crawls out with their bellies full and their tastebuds satisfied.
For starters, the duck carpaccio appetizer surprises with a Japanese-inspired presentation, complete with chopsticks and chinaware spoons. First introduced with agedashi-dofu, guests are then invited to pick up slices of duck, parmesan, and fresh cucumbers, coat it in creamy egg yolk, and bathe the whole combination into the remaining sauce. The result is a perfectly tuned concerto of texture and taste giving hints of greater things to come. Then came the “Melting Pot”, serving pieces of pork, thick cut bacon, blood pudding, and cured sausage, all on a decadent bed of mashed potatoes. But the true piece de resistance is their signature “duck in a can”. Literally a tin can filled with duck magret, foie gras, buttered cabbage, thyme, garlic and a balsamic glaze, which is then boiled for 27 minutes, it is a heart attack waiting to happen. Allegedly, one can even buy a sealed can for home preparation, but the whole experience of getting it plated on location really sells it.
The menu also features a foie gras poutine, an over-the-top version of Quebec’s most celebrated dish which is typically made from potato fries, cheese curds, and gravy, and a foie gras hamburger, for those who prefer to order dishes with less adventurous names.
Reservations can be made directly through their website, or by calling the restaurant at (514) 281-1114. Be prepared to wait for weeks or even months depending on the season, but the wait is well worth it. It is also heard that visitors can get lucky enough to slip in on cancelled reservations, but there is no guarantee for that to be true.
The only truth we can say about Au Pied de Cochon is, just go and you won’t be disappointed.