...Continuing from Part 1.
Not everyone understands Martin Picard's food. It's bold and brash, gutsy--and sometimes even guts themselves. It's not for everyone.
Long ago I worked a shift at Au Pied du Cochon, back in my restaurant days and back when Martin called the tickets every night. It was one wild and crazy Saturday night where I was tossed into the pit, literally, to replace a friend who was sick (or something.)
It was brutal, wonderful, sweaty, faster-than-fast paced and completely intoxicating. I'll have to share the whole story sometime. Especially the part where a bell rang half-way through service and a waitstaff pointed at me and inquired
"What do you want?"Let's just say there was no round of drinks mid-service at the place I usually worked.
But that's Martin Picard for you.
I may not understand his food completely, but I do know that I absolutely love to eat it, and so let's look at the second round of food we recently enjoyed at the Au Pied de Cochon sugar shack!
Piping hot and fluffy as can be, is an omelet, but not just any omelet. Inside is a layer of maple-smoked sturgeon and it is topped with braised pork shoulder and green onions. As you can imagine, it made for a pungent mouthful when coated with maple syrup and devoured.
I could have done without the fish, however the pork was fantastic.
This masterpiece was easily the most complex dish of the bunch. It is a whole cabbage stuffed with lobster, ground pork and, hidden deep in the center, molten foie gras.
Served on a bed of al dente lentils, this dish had me shaking my head with wonder at each bite. I've always loved the earthiness of cabbage, and it was a perfect match for the rich lobster, pork and foie.
Hat's off to the chef, for the cabbage was tender and yet the lobster was not over-cooked. That accomplishment alone left me scratching my head.
It's a bit ghastly to look at, save for the precarious lobster garnish, but the 'choux farci' was my favorite part of the meal.
Forgive me, but I didn't even taste the next dish: beef tongue with a celeric remoulade.
At this point I was staring down the lobster dish above, and marveling over it's complexities. The beef tongue was way down at the other end of the table--and who in their right mind is going to abandon a dish of lobster and foie gras for tongue??
This maple-glazed chicken received plenty of abuse from our food bloggers for being boring; however, I think that simplicity was part of it's charm. I quite enjoyed it, and found the delicious beans cooked with maple syrup and garnished with fresh parsley far outshone the bird.
Two thoughts on that one:
1.Yeah, it's chicken, surely a nice pintade or a couple of game hens would have been more fun.
2.I need to eat more beans.
Yours truly carving up the chicken for the table (and taking it very seriously, apparently).
The last element of our main course cause quite the frenzy in our food paparazzi when it was brought to the table:
This traditional Quebec toutiere was photographed from all angles for a good five minutes before getting sliced up and served with it's homemade tomato ketchup.
I have to draw on Mary Poppins for the praise of this dish, for it was indeed 'Practically perfect in every way'.
It will be difficult to enjoy another meat pie after having experienced this version; it a good thing I purchased one upon our departure and it's now stashed in my freezer.
I doubt it will last there very long.
Stay tuned for desserts! They are coming up next to conclude this series...