Truthfully, I am not a fan of planning when it comes to travel. I like to go with the flow, and feel the freedom to take up anything that presents itself. However, I was happy to have done a little research in discovering Au Pied Cochon and making plans to go. The restaurant came recommended by a coworker and was validated by our hotel’s concierge, stating I had great tastes
Reservations are a must and only in French, thankfully I had the aid of said hotel concierge to help. I called ahead, came early, and was given a seat by the bar.
Located next to its own deli this small restaurant was maximized with smaller tables and close quarter seating. They boast being one of the firsts to have the open kitchen concept. So naturally, upon request, I was shifted over for better lighting and a view of said open kitchen with its chefs manning tighter quarters. This was definitely the best place to take in the restaurant’s inner workings as a solo diner.
Here, I watched fragrant onion soup come out of the oven in pedestal bowls, the golden browning of pork hoc, and fries topped with cheese and smothered in gravy. There is no menu online, so I went in blind and instantly became enticed by all their foie gras options. I would order 3 dishes for 1, and each would feature foie gras, the specialty food product made from the liver of a duck or goose being fattened by gavage.
The restaurant even had a section on the menu just dedicated to foie gras. Overwhelmed by choice, I took my server’s recommendation for all the most visual options.
But first drinks, I began by trying a taster of a Quebec red wine, wanting to drink as the locals do. My server offered the taste but gave a warning. She hit the nail on the head when she said Quebec wine if more on the acidic side and not for all. She let me try the 2022 local blend and after the initial sip, I quit.
Instead I looked to their cocktails. The Ginette with gin, monocle, and pret-a-boire epinette was an interesting one. I ordered it for the potential photo that included gelatin pearls. Best enjoyed alone, the cocktail was minty fresh and I found that it didn’t really match with the food. Pine and spruce forward and botanically heavy. It reminded me of an all-natural mouth wash. If you had to have it, I would recommend it for an after dinner digestif.
As for food, to start I had the foie gras nigiri with peanut sauce and maple flavoured rice. Given that the set includes 5 nigiris it is best to share, but I was alone and visiting a different city, so forced to finish all in this one setting. And no regrets. If you only order one item from Au Pied Cochon, let it be this. I have never had foie gras so appetizing. It was as lush as fatty as you’d expect the luxury product to be, yet light and easy eating when topping vinegar seasoned rice and a sweet maple glaze. Each morsel was balanced harmoniously. Not to mention I am a sucker for peanut butter anything and this did it justice.
My appetite for foie gras did not stop there. Another hot menu item is their Duck Temaki de Canard with duck tartare, sushi rice, and spicy mayonnaise. Basically, it is a foie gras cone, which I found a little too rich for temaki. Especially heavy with the addition of the raw quail’s egg served in shell, that you pour out over top when time to eat. I liked the show of this, but compared to how uniform my first dish was, I would not order this again. It just didn’t satisfy the same and seems to be a handful of contrasting flavours.
Truthfully, I was full after this but how can I miss ordering “Duck in a Can”, especially after I confirmed that it would indeed be served in a can. Duck breast, foie gras, cabbage, bacon, celeriac purée and brown butter. All the ingredients are assembled in the restaurant’s special branded cans, sealed and the sous vide to cook. It would have been nice to be able to take it as is, to go as a souvenir, but the cooking process is so specific that it must be completed by the kitchen.
The can is opened and its contents are poured out right before you eyes, table side. The lumpy meat dish eats as heavy and as rich as it pours. Like a chunky, dry stew. The duck was a lot tougher than I thought it would be for sous vide, I had to saw through it and even struggled and broke a sweat in doing so. The foie gras added a nice layer of moisture and fat to tenderize the dish. However, side from the novelty, this is probably one I would not order again.
In closing I was so happy I visited this restaurant specializing in foie gras , what a treat to be able to try it in so many and such unexpected applications.
An overall great experience thanks to French Canadian hospitality, where all the staff were attentive, checking in regularly. They sounded sincere with their “happy eating” greetings, showing they care and in turn elevating the finer dining experience. This meal was on the pricier side and between the service and pageantry, on top of taste, Au Pied Cochon was well worth it.
Au Pied de Cochon
536 Av. Duluth E, Montréal, QC H2L 1A9, Canada