Tom is the ultimate foodie, and I usually just tag along and eat everything he orders. A few years ago, Tom raved about Au Pied de Cochon and the 20 courses of foie gras, pig, and organ meat he consumed. It sounded absolutely disgusting to me, and a heart attack in the making. But he took his time teaching me about the finer cuisines in life, and now, I was ready to pig out.
More than just slabs of animal fat, Au Pied de Cochon resembles a pub with a rustic flair of its rich edible creations. It’s located in the Plateau, a multi-block area reminiscent of New York City’s Chelsea, with mom-and-pop shops and eclectic restaurants in townhouse buildings no more than 3 stories high. Au Pied de Cochon is a very popular restaurant among locals and tourists, and reservations are a must. We arrived just as they opened for dinner and sat at the bar. This is my favorite spot where I can watch the staff work their magic with the food, and chide each other as the night gets crazier.
Tom learned his lesson the first time, that ordering everything off the menu will make you hurt for days afterward. We paced ourselves by ordering a few dishes at a time, testing our endurance for the fatty, rich goodness along the way. We started with the Cromesquise Foie Gras, little fried squares with liquefied foie gras inside. Our directions were to “take it all in one bite, and keep your mouth closed”.
Our next courses arrived in whatever order they were ready; a plate of cold cuts, head cheese, pork pate, braised pork and aspic called Cochonailles. Roti Porc (roasted suckling pig shavings) and the addictive duck fat fries served in a cone with a side of mayo were just the right fatty goodness.
I had a taste of Tom’s Os a la Moelle (bone marrow special) and the Venison Tongue in Vinegar which was surprisingly mild and tender, but the best dish by far was the Ploque a Champlain. This is a pancake with layers of foie gras, thick bacon, and maple syrup. Sweet, savory, and starchy, all my favorite S words in one bite. None of the flavors were overpowering, but they did take turns dominating my taste buds.
Au Pied de Cochon has been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Food. If you are a foie gras and pork lover, then this is the place to eat in Montreal.
Reservations recommended: www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca/