Jul 2011

Au Pied de Cochon – Montréal

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

As stoked as I was to dig into Montréal’s poutine, smoked meat, and bagels, nothing compared to the excitement and anticipation of sitting down for a meal at Au Pied de Cochon. Chef Martin Picard’s temple of all things meaty, unctuous, and over-the-top came highly recommended to me by my brother, the Kung Food Panda, and every food lover who’s ever traveled to the area. Dining at “the foot of the pig” is a Montréal must-do, especially for those with a penchant for decadence.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

According to the New York Times, Au Pied de Cochon made a splash onto the dining scene back in 2004 when Chef Picard gained notoriety for topping poutine with a fatty lobe of duck liver. Since then, the chef has expanded his unorthodox foie gras preparations to include pizzas, tarts, and hamburgers. In fact, there’s even an entire section of the menu dedicated to engorged duck livers. If it weren’t for my level-headed dining companions, The Astronomer and Nina, I would’ve surely gone overboard with the foie gras offerings.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

To start, we were brought a warm and crusty baguette tucked inside a napkin with softened butter served alongside. Although we didn’t plan on eating much of the bread and butter due to the impending spread, it proved too enticing to resist.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

Our trio of appetizers arrived simultaneously at the table. The “Duck Carpaccio” ($13) came slicked with olive oil and strewn with ground black pepper, dollops of mustard, thinly sliced mushrooms, capers, and a whole egg yolk. The paper-thin slices of duck melded with the array of flavors while still maintaining their meaty integrity.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

Since an order of the “Foie Gras Cromesquis” ($3.50) only included two servings, The Astronomer generously yielded to Nina and me. Breaded and deep fried on the outside and filled with oozy foie gras on the inside, the cromesquis unleashed a mouthful of irresistible fat.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

For some reason incomprehensible to me, Nina and The Astronomer insisted that we order a salad with our meal. Our waiter suggested that we try the “Crispy PDC Salad” ($8.50), which turned out to be porkier than expected, much to the dismay of my dining companions. The heap of mixed greens, sauteed onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers was dressed in a tangy herb vinaigrette with lardons interspersed here and there.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

The highlight of the salad was a fried croquette filled with pork trotter meat, skin, and fat. The croquette’s innards were appealingly gelatinous, while the exterior was crisp and salty. Maybe ordering a salad wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

After a welcomed pause following the appetizers, our two main courses arrived. Taking a cue from the Kung Food Panda, we ordered the “Plogue à Champlain” ($26). It was a luscious combination of buckwheat pancakes, bacon, foie gras, and maple syrup. The dish was unabashedly sweet and frighteningly rich. I relished every single maple syrup-doused bite.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

Our second main course was the famous “Duck in a Can” ($37), which was cracked open and dished out right before our eyes. Inside the can was half a duck breast, a lobe of foie gras, roasted garlic, sprigs of thyme, braised cabbage, and a demi-glace.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

The contents of the can were emptied over slabs of grilled toast covered in a celery root puree. Voila! With three forks attacking the dish simultaneously, my “duck in a can” experience was a bit of a blur. My favorite bites were the ones accompanied by a hunk of impressively engorged ducky blubber.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

To finish, we shared a classic Québécois dessert called Pouding Chômeur ($8). Created during the Great Depression by female factory workers, “welfare pudding” or “poor man’s pudding” is comprised of a combination of maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, flour, eggs, and cream. Because it was served hot, we only took small spoonfuls at a time to avoid searing our tongues. It wasn’t the most nuanced dessert, but I appreciated its history and extraordinary sweetness.

Martin Picard is the man.

Au Pied de Cochon
536 Duluth Est
Montréal, Québec
H2L 1A9
Phone: 514-281-1114

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14 thoughts on “Au Pied de Cochon – Montréal

  1. Yum! Brings back so many good memories from that place! Had the best meal of my life there.

  2. Your brother Panda approves! I’m really glad you went. Though you should have ordered another one of those foie gras cromesquis. That was quite lovely

  3. Cool, I was waiting for this review. Although I would have expected a few more meat dishes. I had the poutine, the pig’s foot, dessert and I was by myself. Granted I didn’t feel so good afterward. This is definitely a must for next year. Thanks for the review of the city, very helpful for our trip.

  4. Ever since I saw this place on No Reservations, it’s been a goal of mine to eat here. Some day. Though I am not sure I will survive the meal.

  5. duck in a can?!? wait is it cooked before it comes to your table?!!?!? what an experience. reminds me of the kind of table experience you get at musha

  6. When I went, I had an appetizer that consisted of fries, gravy and foie gras. It was amazing.

  7. Me and my wife have upcoming reservations here. Do you think that the amount of food you ordered would suffice for 2 people? The menu sounds amazing, but I’m already having nightmares about over-ordering and feeling awful afterwards. We’re both average eaters in terms of portion sizes. Any advice would be appreciated!

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