Au Pied de Cochon
The buzz generated on this page for Au Pied de Cochon has whet my appetite to give it a whirl. Just wondering what the prices are like? I can't seem to find any info about this restaurant on montrealfood.com or any other online resto guides.
Here is what the price range looks like. Entrées are roughly, between 7 and 20$ (the latter being for the foie gras). While a few can be more expensive, depending on the seasons, most of the main courses range between 15-20$. Desserts are 7ish$ (don`t miss the Pouding Chômeur) and the short wine list contains a few bottles of less than 50$. Three of 4 wines can be purchased by the glass every day.
I have been there several times and I have never paid less than 50$ and more than 100$.
By the way, the cassoulet is back on the menu. I can`t wait to try it.
I just got back from Montreal, where I ate at Au Pied de Cochon for the first time last Thursday (American Thanksgiving, no less). To respond to the immediate question, I don't really remember how much it cost, but it was entirely reasonable, especially if you're used to paying in American dollars.
Now, on a broader note, I suggest to everyone who reads this that you make it a high priority in your life to visit this restaurant as soon as possible. It is truly unique and deserves to be a destination restaurant.
So many fancy/expensive restaurants have boringly similar menus; how many times have we all seen seared ahi tuna or some variation on mashed potatoes? This place entirely avoids the "recent-cooking-school-grad" syndrome. I had that rare feeling when I sat down of wanting to order every dish on the menu, many of which I had never seen before. Before we had even ordered, I was already sad that we were leaving the next day and wouldn't be able to come back to eat there again! The cuisine seems to be a blend of approaches and ingredients between traditional Quebecois fare and French bistro cooking. (The delicious foie gras poutine is an obvious example.)
The restaurant is in a pretty part of town and is well-decorated in a sort of brasserie style. What you notice immediately upon entering, though, is the oven. Right up front is a big brick oven, like you see in a good pizzeria, with a raging fire inside. As you stand up front to wait for your table, the cooks are continually shuffling skillets in and out of the fire with all sorts of delectable, rustic looking dishes in them. I saw hunks of lamb and pork, various browned vegetables, and maybe even some foie gras. It all looked and smelled great.
We had to wait a minute for our table, so we sat at the bar and drank a delicious alcoholic cider from (I think) Hemmingford, Quebec. It was light, crisp and delicious.
When we got seated, we ordered a charcuterie plate which included an assortment of perfectly cured meats and maybe some cheese (can't remember exactly); it was a great starter. If you go and you only want one of the cured meats, go for the ham (I think it says "Picard" or something like that on the menu).
As an appetizer, we feasted on the foie gras poutine. Honestly, where else are you going to get this? The fries were perfectly browned (I expect they were double-fried, as they should be) and covered with a delicious brown poutine sauce. The curds could have been squeakier, but they were tasty. Some members of our group thought the rich, tender piece of foie gras was unnecessary; I thought it was the perfect addition to an already decadent dish.
For my main dish, I had a braised lamb shank. The meat had clearly been cooked for a long time (why don't all restaurants do this?) and was perfectly tender. The thick brown sauce was not notably spicy in any way; it just tasted rich and meaty (I suspect there was a good helping of demi-glace in there) and allowed the flavor of the lamb to come through perfectly.
Finally, we got around to dessert. I am normally indifferent to dessert, but I ordered the "pouding chomeur" anyway, along with a glass of grappa. I have had pouding chomeur in the past and it was always overly sweet, but I thought I would give it a shot here; I got the grappa to cut the sweetness, just in case.
I know exactly what's in pouding chomeur, but what I got was fantastic. It was a bready pudding drenched in a very sweet, but not cloying, maple syrup and butter sauce. The best part was the edges around the side of the bowl, where the bread and the sauce had burned together and become sweet and crusty.
As I was enjoying my pudding, the chef/owner came out for a visit. He noticed my grappa (which was fruity, peppery, and generally a cut above most grappas I've had) and suggested that an amontillado sherry might go better with the pudding. He disappeared briefly and returned with both the sherry and some italian digestifs for the table, on the house. This was a nice touch.
In the end, our group stuck around finishing our drinks and were the last ones to leave the restaurant. The staff did not rush us out and were genuinely friendly and helpful, as they had been throughout the meal, right until we left.
We had a table of 7 the other night, one bottle of wine, some beer, and a couple deserts and the total bill came to $350 including tax. About 4 of us had the foie gras. The meal was wonderful. Even my cantancerous father (84 years old) enjoyed it. BTW, they (my mother and father) each had the salmon wrapped in a puff pastry and raved about it :)
Prices are reasonable in view of the quality of the food and the generous servings. I think the cheapest I've gotten away was around $35, which bought me a starter salad, a dozen oysters, dessert and a pint or two of St-Ambroise Stout. A more traditional meal with a couple of glasses of wine will run about $50. Of course, if you order a fancy foie gras starter, a main course of salt-marsh lamb or one of the special seafood dishes and a nice bottle of wine, it's going to cost you more. The most I've paid was for an all-the-stops-out celebratory dinner where the three of us had cocktails (including an ice-wine martini @ $15), fancy starters, the middle plateau de fruits de mer ($55) and a baby flounder just flown in from the Magdalen Islands, a $90 bottle of wine, dessert, coffee and digestifs; with tip, it worked out to around $120 a person.