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Au Pied de Cochon From the Take-Out Counter

Posted by MP / March 30, 2007

The week that La Maison du rôti went up in flames, I bolted to La Paryse for a good take-out meal. But it was Monday and La Paryse was closed. Why don't I have a better list of restaurants with solid take-out?

So I schlepped home, opened a can of tomatoes and stewed.

Soon after that night I heard of a new concept take-out in Place Ville Marie based around fresh salads called Laitue & go. Mouth-watering visions of arugula, chicory and endives filled my head. I bolted there, but again was disappointed. No arugula. No chicory. No endives. If you're going to open a glorified salad bar shouldn't you have more than the usual lettuces and a token spinach leaf? God, ever heard of a mustard green?

20070329_pdc_logo.jpgThis made me think of Restaurant Au pied de cochon, where I once had the amazing PDC salad, which is named for the place. This thought was serendipitous because it led me to discover that Au pied de cochon was not only open, it was open to walk-in customers. It serves up the entire menu for take-out orders, including its salads. I went immediately.

Salads aside, Au pied de cochon has all makings of Montreal's best take-out. There's poutine, several different kinds of sausages, potpies, fish and chips, and, at this time of year, there are also sugar shack treats.

But since I was on a salad kick (maybe it was the weather) I ordered the blue cheese, apple and endive salad. This is a salad! It was $8.50, which is the same price Laitue & go was charging for its scrimpy fare.

20070329_pdc_endive.jpgIt's considered an appetizer on the restaurant menu, but it is massive. I don't think I could recreate it myself for under $10. It's jam-packed with apple and walnuts. A leafy greenness bound it together.

While I definitely got what I wanted, those endives may have been upstaged. The chunks of cheese were so plentiful that I started putting aside every other morsel, each about the size of a pink Pearl eraser. It was really rich and in the end about half of the salad’s cheese sat reserved in a Tupperware – about the equivalent of a 200-gram tranche you would pick up from your cheese monger.

At this point I was glad I went with the fries as a side order and not the cheese-laden poutine.

I dug into them. Very good. But not as winning as the blue cheese salad. For one, it didn't come with any mayonnaise. For $3.75 you think it might come with its own travel size jar of Hellmann's.

Another problem was the packaging. The fries themselves came in a brown bag. But it was in a series of paper bags that made getting to the fries an activity in anxiety. Where are the fries? WHERE ARE THE FRIES?

20070329_pdc_packagingt.jpgThe perceived weight continued to plummet as I removed another layer of thick brown paper. Finally, I reached deep-fried gold but I was perturbed. No one wants to play Russian dolls at dinner.

So maybe I should've ordered the poutine. It's legendary, with or without the foie gras.

Since I was so enamored with their salad, I tried another. There are six of them and they are all listed under Appetizers.

(Note: the restaurant web site does not supply a menu because it changes too frequently -- or so I was told. Suspicious of this, I responded by taking photos of the menu. The person who took my order returned too quickly so I felt the need to explain. "C'est pour la prochaine fois," I smiled. "Génial" was the reply, a little more deadpan than I would've hoped.)

20070329_pdc_beet.jpgThe beet and goat's cheese salad ($9) contained almost as much cheese as the previous salad. But it was the goat's cheese of an airier, lighter and fluffier kind, which made it slightly less rich. But since it's stacked with sweet yellow beets and served with only a small handful of baby arugula, it could still pass for dessert. Nice!

Best of all, when I washed everything down with some cheap Corsican wine, the bottle didn't cost twice as much as the food.

20070329_pdc_takeout.jpgWhen BYO is not an option, take-out is a great way to avoid the standard restaurant mark-ups on alcohol.

Restaurant Au pied de cochon; 536 Duluth E. (corner St-Hubert), 514-281-1114



DaveR514 / April 2, 2007 at 03:08 pm
Sweet write-up... Makes me want to reconsider my supper plans.
Marcus / April 23, 2007 at 08:03 pm
I could understand the pig when it talked to the sheep using barn oinks in <em>Babe</em> better than this.

So, Dmitry... really -- what you got on your mind?
matheus / December 3, 2007 at 09:31 am
je vais juste y courir a toute vitesse.......sans penser a autre résume mon opinion du pdc......comme dirait Martin picard, c est extraordinaire....
matheus / December 3, 2007 at 09:31 am
je vais juste y courir a toute vitesse.......sans penser a autre résume mon opinion du pdc......comme dirait Martin picard, c est extraordinaire....
mathamore / December 3, 2007 at 09:33 am
je vais juste y courir a toute vitesse.......sans penser a autre résume mon opinion du pdc......comme dirait Martin picard, c est extraordinaire....
Sandra / March 15, 2008 at 02:30 pm
I went to au Pied de Cochon this Wednesday and was pleasantly unsurprised. My friend had soupe gratinee a l'oignons which the wine totally covered the aroma of the onions which is the centerpiece in the soup.

Totally disappointed. The magret de canard I ordered which was way too salty. And the shitakee mushrooms that went a long were so badly cooked they were hard to eat.

Definitely a big disappointment. Oh and did I mention the service is very "stuck up waiters" style. The kind that acts like they are some renowned masters of fine dining.

Not worth it. Forget about all the good reviews.

Cause this is all about HYPE!
mathamore / August 23, 2008 at 08:18 am
hahaha sandra........they dont use wine in there pig stock and beer.....too much drink? maybee lollllllllllll
Marcus / January 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm
UPDATE: Sandra is right. I wrote this review in 2007 and since then a heavy increase in salt has been plaguing the tried and true dishes I previously enjoyed.

But however the food turns out, the service at PDC has never been less than commendable.
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