Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Montreal: Au Pied de Cochon

 Our last meal in Montreal was at Au Pied de Cochon.  This was restaurant was really the main reason for our trip to Montreal.  Au Pied de Cochon, or PDC, is a temple of excess.  Any single dish on the menu probably has more fat and cholesterol in it than a normal person would eat in a month.  This place is not healthy.  It is, however, damn tasty, and it is a really fun environment.  Its the sort of restaurants where you walk in and everyone is absolutely excited to be there.  Eating at this restaurant is an event, but it isn't an event like, say, eating at Alinea, where the atmosphere is formal and subdued and the food is precise and refined.  PDC is loud; it is sloppy; and it is decadent.

PDC is located on a street where there are a number of pretty bad, touristy restaurants.  Before PDC took over the space, the restaurant was a pizza place, and PDC puts the pizze oven, above, to good use.  I'm not sure if you can see it without zooming in on this picture, but a whole pig head is sitting in the mouth of the oven.  This roasted pig head dish is served on a big platter, with a knife sticking out of the top of the head, and a whole lobster coming out of the mouth of the pig.  It's a pretty crazy presentation.  If you google "PDC pig's head" you should be able to see a ton of images of this dish.

One of the drawbacks of this restaurant is that, because everything is so rich you can't order as many dishes as you would at a "normal" restaurant.  With three of us at the table, I picked out a few appetizers and main courses, just like I would at any other restaurant, but as I was ordering, our waitress stopped me and warned that we were ordering way more than we could handle.  We went ahead and ordered all of the dishes we had in mind anyways, and made a pretty good dent in everything.

The first dish that we go was called "Plogue a Champlain."  This was a really nice dish.  It consisted of something like a pancake, topped with ham, aged cheddar, a big slice of foie gras, and a maple syrup sauce.  It's a strange combination, but it all worked really well together.

At Francis' recommendation, we also ordered something light.  The tomato salad that they were serving as a special that night was excellent, but I wished that we had asked to have it served latter in the meal.  It would have been nice to have a nice, light salad at the end of a very heavy meal.
 We also ordered the stuffed pied de cochon with foie gras.  I mean, when you're at au pied de cochon, you should order the pied de cochon, right?  For this dish, they debone the pig trotter, braise it, remove the meat and chop it up and than stuff it back into the trotter with mushrooms and foie gras.  The whole thing is the breaded and roasted and served on top of mashed potatoes that are just loaded with cream and cheese curds.  It isn't the most photogenic dish, but it's an impressive presentation and it is really tasty.

We also order the "Canard en Conserve," or duck in a can.  This one is a really fun presentation.  The server brings you a plate with a dollop of mashed potatoes on the bottom,

then she opens the can and dumps out the contents 

which include a duck breast, a pig lobe of foie gras, braised cabbage, and a balsamic sauce.  Everything is cooked together in the can, letting all of the flavors meld together. 

Our last dish was a cured foie gras tart.  The has a really light, flakey crust, topped with slices of blood sausage and torchon of foie gras.  The blood sausage was the highlight of this dish.  Previously, I had only had blood sausage as part of "english breakfasts" at places that you go to for the soccer viewing instead of the food.  It was never really that great.  This stuff, though, was amazing.

After all of these dishes, we were all totally defeated.
Next time, I'll have to bring more people so I can try more dishes.

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