Sherman's Food Adventures: Au Pied de Cochon

Au Pied de Cochon

Long before we even booked our hotel and transportation for our stay in Montreal, Costanza only had one thing on his mind (no, it wasn't that!).  He zeroed in on a bucket list item which was dinner at Au Pied de Cochon.  He's always been impressed with the no-holds-barred decadence offered up by Chef Martin Picard.  Featuring heavy Quecbecois cuisine focused on foie gras and pork, we were in for some serious eating as well as serious spending.  Whatever, we were on vacation - calories and money spent do not count right?  

We started strong with the Charcuterie Board for 4 (and reasonably-priced at $36.00).  It consisted of Lardons, Spicy Pork Pate, 2 types of Pork Sausage, Prosciutto, Cornichons and grilled bread.  This was a lot of food for an "appetizer" as the amount of meat was heavy.  I particularly liked the spicy pate as it was meaty with a hot sauce  taste being vinegary and peppery.  The pork sausages were also on point with a natural meatiness complimented by mild seasoning.  This was followed up by something a lot smaller in the Fried Squash Blossoms.  They were crunchy and light while accompanied by an aromatic tarragon mayo.

We also ended off strong with our last appie being the Foie Gras Poutine.  Wow, this was super rich and decadent.  The duck fat fries were full-flavoured (being nutty) and lightly crisp.  On top, there was a rich and silky sauce that was appealingly gamy with a finish of brandy.  The liberal chunks of foie were seared nicely which provided a textural contrast to the inherent butteriness.  I couldn't imagine eating this all-by-myself as we probably needed a defibrillator nearby.

Moving onto the mains, I went with the Hot Chicken since the Pied de Cochon was not available.  It sported 2 pieces of aggressively battered deboned thighs sandwiched in between fried bread.  The whole thing was drenched in a creamy and spicy gravy with a good amount of peas.  I found the chicken to be nicely brined where it was succulent and flavourful.  The batter was crunchy and peppery, yet some of the chicken skin wasn't rendered.  Viv ended up with the Tuna Burger that really didn't looked like one at all.  Rather than featuring a tuna steak, the patty was processed tuna that was breaded and fried.  Hence, it was super crunchy while the meat resembled beef in some ways.  It was sauced with a peanut satay and topped with avocado.  The bun was fried polenta cakes and to finish the whole thing off, we had 2 onion rings.  Again, this was heavy and she only ended up finishing half.

Elaine chose the Fig & Foie Gras Pizza with prosciutto as her main (which ended up to be the "lightest").  This was excellent featuring a firmly crunchy and thin crust.  We found that the flavours really worked here with the sweetness of the fig contrasting the saltiness of the cured meat in addition to the fatty foie.  Sure, the amount of foie was excessive (yes it was), but it was sure enjoyable.  Costanza had the most interestingly served item in the Duck in a Can.  Prepared in a tin can and opened table side, it consisted of a duck breast and a huge hunk of foie with roast garlic, buttered cabbage and thyme in a balsamic demi.  This was super rich and difficult to finish as the whole dish was oily and of course decadent.  The duck was beautifully medium-rare while the foie was fatty.  There was a nice depth which made things even more heavy.

For the kiddies, they got a couple orders of the Gnocchi & Bacon finished table side in a hollowed out wheel of Parmesan (along with flakes of Manchego).  Hence, the dish was cheesy and gamy, but the significant amount of basil (including the fresh basil in the dollop of ricotta), brightened things up.  The gnocchi itself were little ovals of tender pasta that still had an elasticity.  The final dish we had was the Sheppard's Pie and yes, your guessed it, it was super-heavy.  It featured tender chunks of beef that was meaty and nicely seasoned by the thick gravy that bordered on salty.  The whipped potato topping was thick, yet creamy and cheesy-like. At this point, we couldn't even think about dessert.  Personally, I couldn't get over the heaviness of the meal.  In many ways, it decreased my eating enjoyment.  I do realize that is the point of the restaurant, but it just isn't my cup of tea.

The Good:
- If you like foie...  they don't hold back
- Attentive service
- Creative dishes

The Bad:
- Too heavy for me, as it made things inedible after a few bites
- Creative yes, but didn't always work  

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