One of the restaurants that I was really happy about scoring a reservation for in Montreal was Au Pied de Cochon. I’ve been a fan (without actually trying the food) for quite a while and seeing the restaurant featured in various No Reservations episodes and hearing stories from friends only piqued my interest even more. We arrived around 8pm or so and after a bit of a wait, we were shown to our table at the back.
After settling down with some bevvies, we perused the menu. I pretty much knew what I was going to order but my dining companions weren’t as well prepared as I was.
Snoopy really enjoyed the tomato tartlet and so did I. The tomatoes were fresh and very sweet with hardly any acidity to them. Small sprinkles of thyme highlighted the flavour somewhat but the tomatoes were definitely the star of the show. The light yet buttery puff pastry shell served as a really tasty base and added some nice richness to the tart.
Grick decided to order some pork rinds for us to share. To me, this was like a gourmet version of the pork rinds that you buy from the supermarket. It was a bit indulgent and I couldn’t eat more then a couple of pieces but Grick enjoyed this quite a bit.
Jenkins and I decided to split the crispy PDC salad. It was my attempt at eating healthy before I really started digging into the mains. The salad had a really nice mixture of greens, tomatoes, and crispy onions and pork rind-type bits. In a salad, I thought the rinds were a lot more successful than on their own. This probably wasn’t the healthiest salad but was definitely one of the tastiest that I had. The lemony vinaigrette did a nice job of melding the flavours together and adding some nice acidity.
I was well aware of the huge portions at Au Pied du Cochon so Jenkins and I decided to share stuffed pied du cochon with fois gras. It’s a bit difficult to see just how ridiculous the portion size is from the picture below but the plate was large enough to comfortably hold two regular sized chickens. The lobe of fois gras you see on top there was about the size of my palm and Jenkins was nice enough to let me eat almost the entire thing. The creamy fois gras had a nice crispy sear on the inside and melted away to a flavourful and rich interior. The stuffed pig leg itself had a slightly breaded exterior and was generously stuffed inside with vegetables and mushrooms. Looking back, I don’t know how we managed but Jenkins and I finished this entire thing and it was definitely the best pig leg I’ve ever had.
Grick and Snoopy had their hearts set on the Pig’s Head for 2 but unfortunately, they had run out for the evening. Instead, our server recommended that they try the Guinea Hen for 2. Grick and Snoopy thought initially that this was just a regular hen but they ended up thoroughly enjoying the hen, where each part was cooked using a different preparation from the legs to the breast to the wings and then reassembled. The chicken was topped with a bunch of vegetables, which basically lost all their healthiness when they were cooked in the rich chicken gravy and soaked up all the delicious chicken fat.
My parents decided to share the PDC’s Melting Pot, which looked pretty unassuming compared to the other dishes we ordered but was a delicious stew of root vegetables, blood sausage, and various cuts of pork including pork belly. Similarly to the pied du cochon and the hen, the veggies soaked up all the delicious pork juices. We used the bread that was provided to soak up all the delicious juices from the dishes we ordered.
I forgot to take a picture of what my grandparents ordered but they decided to share the Happy Pork Chop. What the menu failed to mention was that this was basically equivalent to at least 5 thickly sliced pork chops for a normal person. My grandparents very happily shared this and despite the thick pork roast (because that was basically what it was), it was actually very juicy and flavourful despite being a bit leaner than some of the other dishes we ordered.
Even though we all shared our mains, we were still intent on ordering dessert. My parents and grandparents decided to bow out so between Snoopy, Grick, Jenkins, and me, we decided to share two items. The pouding chomeur was described as a maple syrup pudding and even if it didn’t look very enthusiastic, the pudding was buttery and moist and would appeal to any maple syrup fan. I was afraid that it would be too sweet but it worked for me.
We also wanted to try the sugar pie but unfortunately, they were also out of those. As you may know, I am a huge lemon dessert fan so we ordered the lemon meringue pie. The crust was quite light and the lemon flavour was quite prevalent but I felt that both the pie and the pudding took a backseat to the main dishes, which are clearly the stars at Au Pied du Cochon.
By now, it was starting to get late, especially for my grandparents so with quite a bit of effort, we got up from our table and slowly rolled ourselves out the front door. Despite the late hour and the fact that the restaurant was supposed to close in about half an hour, it was still packed with happy and stuffed patrons. We had a fabulous time at Au Pied du Cochon and we all admitted that we actually enjoyed the food and our meal here more than Garde Manger, even though it is difficult to really compare the two. I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Montreal again but if I am, Au Pied du Cochon will definitely be on my list, mainly so I can attempt to take on the pig’s head.
536 Avenue Duluth Est, Montreal, Quebec