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Jul 13, 2009 06:20 AM

Pied de Cochon - another great meal

I headed out to PDC on Thursday evening with my brother and a friend. A trip here has become tradition for us every time my brother visits from Vancouver. Remember, if you are planning to eat here, reserve well in advance in order not to be disappointed.

The atmosphere was as boisterous as ever, a stark contrast to our dinner at Europea the night before. Those in the kitchen worked swiftly and efficiently as knowledgeable staff worked the tables. I love a place where the staff know the menu so well that they can quickly answer any questions thrown their way. Chef Martin Picard was in the room making rounds of the tables and adding garnishes to platters as he passed by the counter.

We ordered wine, hoping it would help cut some of the fat of our anticipated meal. We ordered a few appetizer to share. We started with two cromesquis each, We never pass up those crispy fired cubes of liquified foie gras. The sensation of the savory foie gras as it explodes into your mouth is something everyone should experience... pure pleasure - close your eyes and enjoy.

Next came their classic poutine, a smaller serving than we are usually served, served with a perfectly seared generous piece of foie gras and the right amount of gravy. Another item we are always certain to order came next - the Guinea hen liver mousse, served with a lovely gelee and sliced pickled onions. My brother always likes to order the strangest thing on any menu, and for tonight, the honors went to the tarragon bison tongue. I have never ventured a taste of toungue before, and found it to be surpisingly tender and tasty.

For our mains, we ordered the foie gras stuffed pigs foot big enough to serve four, and the PDC Melting pot. The pigs foot, hoof included and served atop creamy mashed potatoes, is crispy skinned on the outside and incredibly moist on the inside. It is served with a blend of vegetables including onions, baby bok choi, peppers, and mushrooms - all swimming in an incredibly rich sauce, The melting pot is a combination of homemade boudin, pork, and sausage, served on creamy mash with a few sweet roast onions and mushrooms thrown in for good measure.

With a careful plan of pacing ourselves, we were able to leave room for desert. We ordered the lemon meringue tart, the maple churros served with café Robidoux, the maple syrup pie with vanilla ice cream, and of course... the pouding au chomeur. The star of the deserts is always the pouding au chomeur, a traditional Quéquois offering, served bubbling hot, and reminding me of molten lava. The lemon meringe pie has a strongly pronounced lemony taste and I proclaim it the best lemon meringue pie I have ever eaten (soory Mom). The maple syrup pie was good, as were the churros, but their flavors seemed muted after eating the pouding au chomeur.

I look forward to a return visit in August when I have another friend in town.

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  1. I was also there last weekend and my meal was the best I've had in a long, long time. Started with the cod fish cakes which are served with a great mayo that I refused to let leave the table so that I could spread it on my bread...Also had a dozen oysters since my company wasn't keen on the full-fledged seafood platter. Hard to say a lot about raw oysters but they were nice and big, and not at all gritty so very nice.

    For the mains we had the foie gras burger and the melting pot. The melting pot was so very tasty. The pork is so tender, and the blood sausage was fantastic, especially when it crumbled into the mash and the rest of the juices. The meat was so obviously first-rate and the the preparation was perfect. It really is a melting pot, no fancy presentation or garnish, just a truckload of great meat. And what can you say about the burger? Honestly its surreal that food can taste so good. Eat with a knife and fork and it will fall apart, which is perfect. In every bite you get the rich balsamic sauce, perfectly cooked beef and the unmistakeable taste of foie gras. (A note to someone who posted that the burger was changed, you may have gone on an off-night, if thats possible, since it was as good as ever in my opinion).
    My company ordered the chocolate molten cake for dessert. Honestly, I wasn't crazy about it, but that is probably because I was quite full and have a soft-spot for VERY sweet dessert, which this wasn't.
    All in all, probably in the top 3 meals I've ever had.
    PS. This is where you should definetely go for a bottle of wine, even between two people. It makes the experience oh-so-much better.

    18 Replies
    1. re: berbatov

      So heading here for our first dinner in Montreal in quite some time. What should we not miss? What should we feed the children (more timid than my friend and I)? And finally what is pouding au chomeur?

      1. re: mrsphud

        It's actually just called pouding chomeur, not pouding au chomeur. Loosely translated as poor man's pudding, or welfare pudding, it's a cake baked in maple syrup. The result is an ooey gooey delicious maple extravaganza.

        For appetizers, my favourites are the bison tongue and the tomato tartlette. I also enjoy the maki. For mains I don't have a clear favourite.

        1. re: mrsphud

          Pouding chomeur (there's no "au") is a traditional Quebecois dessert. It's basically a cake batter baked in a sweet sauce made from brown sugar and or maple syrup and butter.

          The one at APDC is insanely sweet, but that not unusual for this dish. It is also very good.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            "It is also very good, which is most unusual for this dish."

            Glad I could fix that for you, Snack. ;)

            1. re: carswell

              Oh, snap! That's harsh.

              Thousands of Quebecois grandmothers just cried a single tear.

              1. re: carswell

                I like pouding chomeur in most of its incarnations (the exception being the industrial supermarket kind), but the one at APDC is truly in a league apart. I don't know why. Maybe it's that whenever we go there we are surrounded by good friends and dunk on foie gras and pork fumes.

                1. re: mainsqueeze

                  "the one at APDC is truly in a league apart. I don't know why."

                  Picard is a maple syrup geek. You can bet he uses the best he can get.

            2. re: mrsphud

              There are a ton of threads on what not to miss at APDC - if you search the board you'll find them. You can also start with these:

              Au Pied De Cochon this weekend - what should I order?

              APDC what must I order?

              1. re: kpzoo

                Stupid question...okay if I wear nice jeans to APDC? We have a res this weekend and I'm very jeans oriented!

                  1. re: april164

                    Totally come-as-you-are. You'll see people in t-shirts, cutoffs and flip-flops at one table next to a table of guys in three-piece suits.

                    1. re: carswell

                      See y'all Friday night then. I'll be the one in jeans!

                      1. re: april164

                        April164, jeans are a poor eating outfit choice... when eating at APDC, it is best to wear something that is completely loose at the waist, or that expands a lot.... even elastic at the waist isn't good, any pressure on your overextended intestinal system after one of these meals can be painful. Go loose and go big.

                        1. re: moh


                          Thanks for the laugh moh !

                          1. re: souschef

                            Oh yeah, but the tight pants quick-started my Weight Watchers point counting again as soon as the meal was over. We loved it. The only disappointment was the tempura crab, which I wasn't nuts about. I had a salad that was enormous and very good and would have been enough with my cod fritters. My boyfriend bravely ate whelk, fois gras, and a meatloaf that looked great. We also had the pudding whatever dessert which was very, very good. I enjoyed that "place to be" feeling. And the staff was very attentive and personable.

                            1. re: april164

                              Went tonight. Excellent meal. Duck magret was stupendous. The appetizers of the day were also great. Lamb shank on a bed of lentils was tasty. Only complaint is the 'greens'. Way overpriced for what is basically a bunch of lettuce. PDC is a meat/seafood place; don't waste your time on salad with minimal dressing.

                              Seafood special of halibut also wonderful. Whole meal, sans the lettuce, well worth it.

                              Didn't have time to try the desserts...too bad.

                              You must reserve to get into this restaurant unless you want to sit at the counter. People there of all ages too so approrpiate for kids too.

                              1. re: williej

                                I happen to like their green salad - I find it is a nice contrast to the heavier foods that inevitably follow...
                                And the counter is where you want to sit!

                                1. re: cherylmtl

                                  But it wasn't a salad. It was just a bunch of lettuce with olive oil; we even had to ask for balsamic vinegar. And the cost is unjustified--7 dollars for 1.00 worth a lettuce?

            3. A group of 6 of us were there last week. We were visiting from Texas. Never having been there it was a real experience.They sat us in the rear of the restaurant. It was so loud we couldn't even hear the waiter., One of our group wears a hearing aid ,and it was killing him. We ordered a glass of wine and continued on .Another one of our group got up quietly and went to ask the host if we could be put at another table. Remember, the place was FULL> a few minutes later the hostess came to our table and said a group at the front the restaurant was paying their bill, and she would move us up their shortly.She actually seemed pleased that she could accomondate us.

              At our new quieter table, we looked over the menu and ordered. The waiter looked at us and asked if this was our first visit. He said we had ordered 3 of the same appetizers and 3 of the same main courses. Then he proceeded to tell us how we should order, what we should order and we should all share to get a taste of many dishes . We took his suggestions.We had a wonderful multi tasting meal. This place is SUPER. If you are in Montreal ,don't miss out --go there.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ccfoodie

                Nice experience! I am glad to hear of courteous service and helpful staff. One of the things I love about this place is that the staff know the menu items very well and they can therefore lead you to the most pleasurable dining experience possible.

                1. re: Andria

                  I had the salad with the apples and blue cheese, which was really, really good. I am a fish and vegetable person, so this worked out fine for me!

              2. How early in advance should I make my reservation at APDC? It will only be for 2 people. We are hoping to go on the long weekend at the beginning of September.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jorgep18

                  Depends on which day you go... week-ends are very busy until late. I would book 2 weeks in advance.

                  1. re: Andria

                    I second that. I always book two weeks in advance and I've never had a problem getting a table.

                2. Two words: food orgy

                  I think the bill for the entire table (6 people) came up to at least 400 after tips


                  - Friend 1 & I each had a cromesqie au fois gras: that thing literally EXPLODES in your mouth! Foie gras bursts and coats your mouth with it. Even the waiter says to make sure to close our mouth when we ate it
                  - Friend 1 also had the beef tartar which was presented in a sushi hand roll with some seasoned rice and the bison tongue
                  - We split this cheese from the canton de l'est which is melted. It had bits of bacon, tomato, freaking AMAZING
                  - The best entree of the night was the wild mushroom which Friend 2 chose... omg.. we swore it tasted like snail! The mushroom was chewy, tasty and flavorful. When she had her bite, she closed her eyes, couldn't talk, the waiter thought there was something wrong with her lol
                  - Her cousin had the onion soup which was quite good! The broth had a hint of ham/bacon/pork

                  Main course:

                  - Friend 3 had the duck in a can, nuff said
                  - Friend 4 had the lamb, again, freaking amazing
                  - Friend 1 wanted the potee but they didn't have it (we all cried) so he went for the poutine fois gras
                  - Friend 2, her cousin and myself shared this "chicken for 3". It's one whole chicken that was bathing and cooked for like 10 hours stuffed with cauliflower and butter. AT first we thought there were mash potatoes around it but it was actually CAULIFLOWER! The stuffing had shitake mushroom (after eating Mish just explored the remaining), i forgot what green pea it was, some tyme. It was served with a vinaigrette. That damn thing was sinfully good (dry? hellz no) and there was enough for the entire table.. 3 is just BS.. i have half of that chicken at home..

                  - Highlight of the night: Friend 1 reads the churros and the cafe robidoux and went.. "i can't go for that, i'll be broke" (we all went, dude.. STFU and don't look at the price) and eh goes " i don't have enough space". He asked what theh cafe robidoux is and the waiter said there was brandy and... and he just went : "gimme now!". Basically churros with a creme anglaise dip. Cafe robidoux is an expresso with, get this: 2 SHOT GLASSES! One with brandy and one with bailey. You can either drink it straight up or mix it with the coffee. He did the latter
                  - I had the pouding chomeur, which wasn't as sweet as i expected! It had an initial sweet taste but then it disappeared in the mouth. that damn thing is hot though.. almost burned my tongue. Friend 3 didn't listen, after 3 of my warnings, and burned her tongue.. we all laughed
                  - Camomille tea was really REALLY good, nice smell and tasted really nice. they even had an earl gray tea with lavender aroma.. and even decaf earl gray too! You would love it.

                  we all passed out, felt like the fat is seeping through our pores.. the chicken costed 100 bucks but to be honest with you, it could havhe easily been split 6 ways so it was probably the best bargain of the night

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mak2k

                    I loved the puding chomeur, and when we looked at the Pied de Cochon cookbook were shocked at how it's made. It sort of makes itself, lots of cream. it was delish, but yes, hot hot hot.

                    1. re: april164

                      Just a heads up in case you try the recipe: the one in the book is great, but it's the inspiration for the restaurant's version, not quite the same. A lot less liquid.

                      I haven't experimented much to get closer to the resto's version, but find that holding back a couple of dollops of dough makes an improvement.

                      Obviously you could also boost the cream/maple syrup mixture but as the recipe calls for standard-size containers of both cream and syrup, using less dough is more convenient.

                      1. re: Mr F

                        OK, it took awhile but I finally made it to APDC. I did visit the Cabane this past spring and discussed on CH that I wasn't overly impressed with it. I had stated in that post though that I have always looked forward to going to the actual restaurant after reading all the positive reviews and seeing the menu. The wife started with the onion soup and I with the cod fritters, The soup was excellent, the cod was ok, nice and crispy on the outside and tender inside and not at all greasy. The bread was excellent, from Le Fromentier I was told, the homemade butter even better. For mains I had the Lamb Shank, it was perfect, tender and great taste (although I think it could have been ever more tender) the wife had the steak frites (with poutine). The steak was good although the au jus was a bit too salty, same with the gravy for the poutine, very salty. The fries on there own were very good as were the cheese curds used. The chocolate soufflé for desert was perfect as well.