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Peculiar Trend with APDC

I am hoping someone can help me allay my paranoia about getting and keeping a reservation at Au Pied de Cochon. We just returned from a visit this past weekend. We had tickets to a show on Thursday which we had purchased in January. At the time we also made arrangements for accomodations, and shortly after that we made reservations at APDC for Friday night at 8. On Friday afternoon, I called to confirm the reservation, and they had no record of it. Of course they didn't have any openings and we had to make last minute arrangements.My problem is this is the third consecutive time this has happened to us. We have been patrons at the restaurant from the beginning. Granted, we are only in town a few times each year and cannot be considered "regulars". The lady who answered the phone when I called to confirm stated " I do not have your name on any of my papers". Papers? There seems to be a trend here over the past two summers. I can't help but think that celebrity has worked it's way into the mindset of this place. Any thoughts?

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  1. Can't speak for anyone else but it hasn't happened to me. I usually make a res two weeks in advance. On the day, I call to confirm and my name is always in the book. Like you, I only eat there two or three times a year on average, though I only started going in 2003. Of course my last name, Cianci, is not that common. Not sure if that makes a difference though.

    1. I've never had a problem at all with reservations. Did you explain what has happened calmly? They have been very good to me in the past.

      1. My thoughts...

        APDC is one of those restaurants that is nowhere near deserving the temple of worship that Mtl chowhounders have erected in its honor. It even has its vigilantes that refute any negative comments aimed towards it...

        It is pretty good food. However, when I hear that the "foie gras poutine" is "decadent", I have a hard time containing my laughter. In any case, based on my experiences there and what I have read, they do appear quite smug about the whole enterprise. There is no reason in this day and age to lose a reservation, especially not when it concerns a restaurant of that "caliber". That they did not lose the reservations of two other customers in no way counterbalances that they lost the reservation of the same person THREE times! This in fact borders on scandalous.

        My response would be this: Toque, La Montee, La Chronique, LeMeac, Ferreira, Europea, Bronte, Jun I, Le Local...

        2 Replies
        1. re: masela

          Agree with the last two posts. Especially, "you will be subjected to endless dissertations for merely expressing your opinion." The food is pretty good and I enjoy the atmosphere, just don't like the exalted pedestal it's placed upon by the chow mafia.
          I made a reservation at APDC a few months ago for 6 at 8 p.m. When we arrived we were told that the reservation was for 4 at 9 p.m. No apologies, the implication very clearly was that we had made the mistake. We left.

          1. My guess is that like any place whose business is pretty much assured whatever they do, they allow themselves to get lazy and disorganized - they know people will just keep on coming no matter what. As I've said before, I agree with the other posters - APDC is a nice place to eat, but nowhere near deserving the degree of adulation it enjoys. But that's what TV chefs do to impressionable people's opinions...

            1 Reply
            1. re: johnnyboy

              To the OP: If I understand you correctly, you made your res months in advance of the date. I suggest making your res two to three weeks in advance instead. That's what's worked for me.

              1Marlowe1: Agree that what happened to the OP is inexcusable, but he raised the issue of whether it was a trend, so yes, other posters' experiences count.

              johnnyboy: Guess again. I've thought PDC a fantastic restaurant since 2003. That's before the TV show, the documentary, the book, and both visits by Bourdain. I was there two Saturdays ago and there were no lazy, smug or disorganized people working that night, just friendly, competent professionals showing us a good time..

              Perhaps PDC is not the best restaurant in Montreal (though I think it is), but the people who work there are clearly doing something that sets them apart from the pack. What I find interesting about Picard and staff is that no other restauranteurs seem to engender such resentment as they move from success to success.

            2. Yes, they use papers - last time I checked they (like many Montreal restaurants) mark reservations in the old-fashioned way, using a book or paper. So if you make your reservation too far in advance, it may well get (literally) lost in the shuffle.
              Another possibility would be that they indeed did have your reservation but if you made it in English, it's always possible that someone completely misspelled the name it was under, and the only way you'd find it was by going over each name for the date and time you made your reservation for.
              If this has happened to you three times, there has to be a reason, most likely one of the above.

              4 Replies
              1. re: cherylmtl

                Why are we finding reasons to justify why the reservation was lost exactly?

                It does not matter what your name is. It does not matter whether you make your reservation months ahead or hours ahead. It does not matter that they use a computer, a piece of paper, or some waiter with a fabulous memory. The point is that when you make a reservation at such an "establishment" you certainly do expect that it will not be somehow "accidentally" lost so as to accomodate more temple worshippers.

                And just to be clear, I have no opinion on Martin Picard himself. He does what he does. He does not strike me as particularly interesting. So, my opinion is based solely on my experience at the restaurant and comments made by non-Chowhound mafia members are someone else so accurately put it. I just find it dishonest to assert that APDC's service is a strong suit.

                1. re: 1Marlowe1

                  On the other hand, why do you insist on crucifying them? I've seen countless other restaurants loose or mis-interpet a res. I've been in the industryu for 38 years and this is a very common problem. Let's not try to afix blame. Let's just find a solution for the problem.

                  1. re: 1Marlowe1

                    It's obvious that 1Marlowe1 is not a fan of PDC, which is fine. But "Why are we finding reasons to justify why the reservation was lost exactly?" - because the OP specifically asked about "any thoughts" as to why this might be happening, that's why. No, I do not worship at the altar of PDC , although I do enjoy visiting it from time to time. No, it may not be the best restaurant in the city, and I don't think anyone has asserted that their service is a strong suit, but it is something that does not exist anywhere else in the world, cuisine-wise, which is why it is recommended so often for visitors to try.

                    1. re: cherylmtl

                      A nicely-balanced post, cheryl. Like you, I do not worship at the altar of PDC, but do enjoy visiting it from time to time, despite one horrible miss (a platter of rubber seafood) and one near-miss (a too-hard poached pear). But there have been some superlative dishes.

                      I usually call them at the last minute and get seating at the bar, albeit sometimes at 9 pm. I really hope they do not do away with the bar as I enjoy talking to the chefs and tasting stuff.

                2. I think someone mentioned here that they have cancelled his/her reservation unilaterally (due to some last minute party or some sort of), and the diner only accidentally found this out. Can't recall the exact course of events, but something like that.

                  Moh also mentioned here that her reservation for 15 for the cabane a sucre event was "lost". They were accommodated though, I think out of sheer luck. So I can see some sort of trend here.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: emerilcantcook

                    Yeah, I recall a handful of mentions about these sorts of problems in the past few months. Not that it's excusable, but I think a good way to avoid this would be to call only a week or two in advance, rather than months. Also maybe confirm the day before instead of the day of.

                    1. re: mainsqueeze

                      That's that approach I use and it generally works for me.

                      Teflontom, if you are still reading this thread, have you tried talking to Gaƫlle Cerf, the house manager, about your experiences? If you did or ever do, it would be great if you could post back here and let us know how it went.

                      By the way, I find the service excellent at PDC.

                  2. I've never eaten at APDC, no opinion on Picard, so here's an unbiased opinion:

                    Reserving 4 months in advance is just silly. If you reserved that far in advance the other times, there's your trend.

                    "Papers" would be the reservation book(s). A place that popular probably needs a new one every month or two, so one for a third of a year down the road could easily get lost.

                    1. while it is indeed unprofessional of the restaurant to loose a reservation like this as this is the third time it has happened what I wonder about is why you did not call a week or two ahead of time to reconfirm. Calling on Friday afternoon (especially on Friday afternoon) is far too late for the staff to do anything to assist you if the reservation has been lost. This goes double since you seem to be aware that there is a problem.

                      As to the term "papers" - I am not sure why you think it is inappropriate for the staff to be using a paper reservation system.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: buspirone

                        Frankly if it had been me, I would have been optimistic rather than defensive the third time - why would lightning strike yet again in the same place? Besides, even if he did call, who's to say they wouldn't have lost it after he called to confirm? The problem is clearly on the resto's side, don't try to blame the diner here.

                        About paper - to me the OP sounded surprised, not judgmental. Me, I'm also surprised they managed to lose a written record - that takes talent. You can't easily blame it on a crash, a power failure, or an accidental deletion...and obviously no one bothered to investigate what went wrong the previous times. But regardless of the cause, it's totally inexcusable from a customer's standpoint, and especially for someone visiting from out of town - you just don't hang people out to dry like that! I don't care if your chef is on TV or you put fancy liver on your poutine - it's just not cool.

                        1. re: anachemia

                          We were there last night with a reservation made over a month ago - though I did reconfirm 2 days in advance after reading this thread. I'm not sure how they "lost" a paper reservation so many times, since from what I could see, the reservations were on a page for the whole evening, similar to what I've seen at other restaurants that don't use a computer system. Happily our experience was a success, since this was our first visit to Montreal and we have no idea when we might return since we live in the Seattle, WA, USA area.

                          1. re: FoodDee

                            Thanks for all the advice. Perhaps reserving so far in advance is silly, but the two prevoius times were much closer to the reso date. As a matter fo fact the first occurrence we actually made the reservation at the restaurant as we were leaving a successful visit. Probably just crazy luck for us.

                            So, now let me through you a curve. We are comiing back to Montreal during the week of July 6. Because of the flood of visitors for the Jazzfest, when would it not be silly to reserve?

                            1. re: teflontom

                              A guess would be 3 weeks in advance, if you want to go on a weekend, which would be mid-June-ish? Weekday reservation could be less than that. I don't think it would hurt to mention, when you reserve, that you're not sure how, but they lost your previous reservations, and could they pretty please ensure that this one doesn't get lost.

                              1. re: cherylmtl

                                I made reservations 3 days in advance but it was for 6or7 on a Sunday.