Montreal, a city of smog warnings on a weekly basis and the occasional student protest, is also home to a magical and wondrous place. It has become a staple in the Montreal culinary experience ever since it was established back in 2001; Martin Picard’s Au Pied De Cochon.
Picard’s restaurant has resuscitated old school, traditional Quebec dishes, ones our great-grandparents’ parents prepared such as Pouding Chomeur and Ragout. On the menu, you have choices of tarts, poutines, burgers, lobster rolls, etc. all of which have been topped or covered in foie gras. Picard has built a shrine to it, by his food and the restaurant itself.
Due to an open space design, one may see the food, which comes in very generous portions, being prepared. This institution is an hommage to fatty and protein induced dishes. The smell of smoke, wood, and the burning of fatty meats fill up the air as you walk in.
Songs from Les Cowboys Fringants and Les Colocs play in the background. As you walk to your table, the cheers and laughs from tipsy customers, filling their faces with what they have ordered grow louder. Families gather to celebrate whatever they want to, while siblings have their fight over who stole the cheese curds from their poutine and couples, both old and new fall in love all over again between a dish of force fed duck and a paired wine.
The ambiance is one of the most uplifting and lively in the Montreal culinary scene. A Cabane À Sucre deep within the heart of a bustling city. You can easily say, without hesitation, that it really is better than Grand-Maman’s cooking.
The service is always impeccable, quick, and in all reality, fun. The waiters know the menu and customers can very well know the chefs. Questions will be answered and wines may be paired.
One of the restaurant’s signature dishes: Plogue à Champlain. A maple-syrup poached egg set atop a buckwheat galette, with potatoes and cheddar cheese. With added bacon strips, a duck and maple sauce, and top with a thick slice of foie gras, you have what I can proudly call, Heaven on Earth.
At Au Pied de Cochon, it’s a mistake to sit there, rolling your thumbs, wondering why you let yourself be dragged into a place serving foie-gras. Enjoy while you can! Experiences for your pallet always count and they always have a story. To eat, drink, laugh and let loose — those are the joys of life, la joie de vivre as one may say.
Written By: Lazaros Kalipolidis