1000yregg, redneckhunter, his brother, and I took a post-Thanksgiving jaunt up to Montreal. Our mission was to eat at Au Pied de Cochon. After watching Bourdain eat something like 14 courses of pork, duck, and foie gras dishes on No Reservations we were obsessed with trying this place, and it lived up to its promise -- it was truly amazing. I think the others will agree that this was one of the most memorable meals we've ever had.
We began with three starters: foie gras poutine (above) -- the traditional Quebecoise comfort food of frites smothered with gravy and cheese curd, only this one was by far the best we'd ever had, not only because of the added richness of the foie gras, but because the cream-laden beef gravy was phenomenal; a charcuterie plate with sausage, several kinds of pate, blood pudding, pickled beets.
The third starter was my favorite: venison tongue with tarragon. This tongue displaced the tongue tacos from Tortilleria and Tacos as the best tongue I've ever had. So soft and tender it melted in your mouth served au jus and with a delicious mustard. I left the boys to devour the poutine and ate most of the tongue on my own.
Then we had three main dishes: the house specialty pied de cochon (pig's foot) with foie gras -- crispy thin skin covering falling-apart nuggets of pork and fat and softened gelatinous cartilage with foie gras served over garlic and cream mashed potatoes.
We also had canard in a can. This was my favorite of the main dishes -- the flavors of duck, foie gras, butter, red wine, garlic, and thyme blended so magically while steamed in that can -- it was such a surprise. 1000yregg literally gasped at the wonderful aroma that escaped when the waiter popped the hole in the can.
Our third main dish was kidneys with mustard. I'd never had kidney before, so I think I've discovered that it's not my favorite organ meat. The springy texture is not my thing -- I like chewy like tripe and soft like sweetbreads, and I adore gelatinous like tendon, but springy not so much... I know that 1000yregg was a fan, and a huge fan as well of our dessert, which I was too full to eat more than 2 bites of, so I'll let him wax poetic on those and other items in our meal.
One last thing - the atmosphere of the restaurant was another key to the utter joy of this meal. With the welcoming warmth of a brick oven and the welcoming warmth of the wait staff, not a hint of pretentiousness at all to this place. And with such good-looking stylish French waiters, I didn't even mind their overly touchy-feeliness.