Au Pied de Cochon

I’m sweating. Instructed to let the foie gras cromesquis cool slightly before popping it in my mouth, I procrastinate with my third codfish fritter. Complex, crispy then chewy spheres with a touch of heat. A smear of mayo, why not? The cromesquis look like chocolate truffles you’d find inside a Russell Stover box. In one swift motion the amuse is off the plate and exploding in my mouth. An intense rush of rich, earthy flavors–liquid foie. You see, it’s not particularly hot out and the restaurant has a nice breeze flowing from the open front windows. This is a different kind of perspiration. A nervous energy. Excitement. My body is working here and the Cheval Blanc is only quenching my thirst.

The table is next to the bar that overlooks the open kitchen. There are four chefs and they’re moving fast. I can’t see what they’re doing but their eyes are focused. Dupes stack up, but they are never in the weeds. It’s a fucking Tuesday night and I feel lucky to be in the door. More beer then the Happy Pork Chop and House-Made Boudin arrive. The chop is thick with the bone protruding six inches off the plate, smothered with onions and mushrooms in red wine demi. No bullshit from this dish. Here is an excellent cut of meat with an appropriate garnish. The pig is happy, you are happy.

The House-Made Boudin sure looks like sausage perched upon mashed potatoes. But slicing into the casing and tasting the Boudin presents a revelation. An unusually smooth texture, a creamy sweetness that requires little chewing. It’s different, but only in the sense that it is foreign. Maybe we’ve been the ones fucking up sausage for the last hundred years. Maybe this is how it’s done. Blood and meat and seasoning, ground so fine that it becomes a heavenly paste. No longer will Johnsville suffice.

I, like so many others before (probably), discovered Au Pied de Cochon on No Reservations with Mr. Anthony Bourdain. You can watch the video below. I happen to be in Montreal and read that there is few better restaurants in the city. I was floored. The service was excellent and they were totally cool about speaking English. The food, simply outstanding and affordable for the quality. Did I forget to mention the poutin? Oh yes, there was duck fat fries, cheese curds and gravy as well. Glutony on top of envy. Chef/Owner Martin Picard even swung by later in service to see how the night was going. He’s the real deal.

My new goal: learn French and prepare myself for even more foie gras on my return visit.

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