Saturday, June 21, 2008

les plateaux Mont-Royal

Just a few weeks ago it seemed like Au Pied de Cochon's summer seafood extravaganza was still just getting off the ground. There were lobsters and shellfish of all sorts, but they and an outrageous roasted mahi-mahi* with fiddleheads and ramps combo were on offer strictly as off-menu specials.

PDC seafood platter fig. 1: Le Plateau PDC

Just last week, though, Au Pied de Cochon's seafood was back in full effect, as evidenced by the platter of coquillage you see above.

That's the "small," the "Plateau PDC." It runs just under $50. This year Au Pied de Cochon offers four more seafood platters, and each one gets more plentiful, and more intricate. They also get kinda tall--we passed one on our way in that looked like the Eiffel Tower. There was talk of lobsters and seared fish with some of the bigger platters. I can't even imagine what the biggest and baddest of the lot--"Le Gros Verrat"--entails. Its price tag? $350. Our "Plateau PDC" made for a very substantial appetizer for three (along with some cromesquis, of course), so I guess "Le Gros Verrat" would make a very substantial appetizer for you and twenty of your friends? Who knows? All I know is that the quality is unbeatable. So is the creativity.

Au Pied de Cochon has its novelty dishes, of course (Duck in a Can, Foie Gras Poutine), but it's not really a place you associate with molecular gastronomy. That said, the most pleasant surprise of the night came with one of our massive oysters (but not the one you see in the picture). This is one had a mysterious pale translucent cube nestled next to the oyster. I really had no idea what to expect. Could have been lychee jelly for all I knew. Turns out it was something way better, and way more clever: sea water. Eaten together, the sea water jelly just melted in your mouth and mingled with the oyster, taking the natural brininess of that lovely Atlantic oyster to a whole other delectable level.

Sure, we live along a Seaway, but sometimes the Atlantic seems awfully distant. If you've gotta be landlocked, this is definitely the way to do it.


* Apparently it was Atlantic mahi-mahi and the Novia Scotia fishermen who landed it had never seen one before (they don't generally make it this far north [!]), so Picard & Co. got it for a good price.

ps--TY, Jr.!

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