Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Left My Liver in Montréal

We had been following the adventures of chef Martin Picard and his famous Montréal restaurant "Au Pied du Cochon." for quite a while. We have his cookbook and watch his show "Wild Chef" on the Food Network.

This past weekend we finally had the opportunity to sample the PDC menu.
Warning: What you are about to read is a sick testament to foie gras, gluttony and pure gastronomic porn. The authors would like to apologise to vegetarians, vegans, dieters and all others who find huge plates brimming with creams, lard, organs and all that is pork and duck offensive. We're sick and can't help ourselves!

Our reservations were for 6:30 and we arrived to a vibrant, noisy pub style restaurant. The place is not large and the kitchen is open to the diners seated at the bar. Next time that's where we'll be. It's a show in itself watching the chefs at work churning out the meals in such a small kitchen..a symphony of coordination and communication.

Our Maitre D' was Maxime who guided us through the menu and wine cellar with the experience and knowledge of one who has tasted it all and knows each detail of preparation for every dish. The portions are large and the waiters will help you with quantifying your selections so you don't order too much and trust me you will want to order too much.

My sweetie ordered the locally brewed PDC blonde ale and I started with a glass of Shiraz.

We started with the Cromesquis de foie gras. It's a deep fried cornmeal cube with a molten foie gras interior. You put the whole thing in your mouth and bite down. Its an explosion of the most intense buttery rich flavor of liquid foie gras on your taste buds. Our eyes said it all as we looked at each other...OMG...and this is just the beginning.

A bottle of 2005 Chinon joined our table.

Next up " Tarte de foie gras cru au sel" and a special that evening "Salade de Lapin"

The tarte was a small personal foie gras pizza. Thinly sliced medallions of foie gras placed over a crisp golden "made in house tarte of buttery pastry. Absolutely delicious.

The salad consisted of fresh greens topped with nuggets of roasted rabbit, vinaigrette, toasted walnuts and a sharp cheddar. It was delicious but I found the rabbit a little bland.

Timeout-Le Trou de Normand..eight year old Calvados to make some room for the onslaught to follow.

Main courses: Poutine au foie gras and Canard en conserve.

The poutine is the culinary culmination of that saucy, cheesy "after clubbing " classic we all know and crave. This one has been dressed up with chunks of seared foie gras and a creamy rich foie gras gravy. Its hard to describe but for all you poutine lovers out there this is the sacred messiah and worth a pilgrimage to the PDC temple. It is the most decadent, delicious, tasty plate of chips you will ever eat.

The conserve is a duck breast (magret) stuffed with foie gras and layered in a can with caramelized balsamic onions, roasted garlic, buttery roasted cabbage. The can is sealed and steamed. The can is then opened at your table and the contents are poured onto a toasted slice of bread layered with a creamed celeriac puree. The aromas of the duck, froie gras, and garlic all intertwine into a rich wonderful smog that envelopes the senses as it melts and mingles over the bed of toast. As you taste it, each bite progressively gets more delicious as the flavors combine.

The duck was tender and sweet; the foie gras providing a rich canopy for each ingredient. Each one a delicacy on its own but combined together it was oohs and ahhs and wows after each mouthful.

Incredibly and painfully but joyously motivated we ended with Pudding chomeur. A light white cake pudding smothered in warm maple syrup caramel.

By now we were numb with food coma but proud of our accomplishment. I recommend you clear a few days to "detox" after a meal of this calibre. Hey, we knew what we were getting into and prepped accordingly. Tip: Eat light the day of your visit.....OK I lied . We tried but we're in Montreal for God's sake! I'll fess up. We ended up looking for a light snack to tide us over a few hours before our meal and hit another local dining establishment. JACKPOT!!!! That's another blog review and it would be too embarrassing to review it here after what I've just confessed to eating at PDC. Can two human beings actually eat that much in one day !!? Let me just say that there is no such word as light in the local cuisine.

It was a meal that will go down in the annals of gluttony and forever etched in our minds and stomachs. The food, the ambiance, the hosts make this restaurant a must for any culinary traveller.

Try to get a seat at the bar.


gail said...

Delicious - and NO apologies necessary!!!!!

Janet said...


Melanie Ester said...

I went to the Pied de Cochon on Montreal for my husband's birthday last year and we actually documented the entire visit as well. It was so awesome! I wish we could go more often but I'm pretty sure I would either die of high cholesterol or I'd be broke. :) I had the canard as well and I nearly died from happiness while eating it.