Forget Au Pied de Cochon and its overhyped over-lardy foie gras poutine. This blog entry takes you off the beaten track to the lesser-known Pied de Poule. This recent addition around Carré Saint Louis beckoned me with its chic minimalist Scandinavian design and meat & potatoes menu.
I think the place is run by expats from France, who have a curious habit of calling a spade a spoon. On my last trip to Toulouse, I asked around for the “office du tourisme” (tourist office) and was given lots of baffled stares before some pompous pedant informed me that the “proper” name for a place to get maps & brochures was a “syndicat d’initiative” (syndicate of initiative). The French also have a bizarre tendency to confuse children (enfants) with testicles (gosses), and uncles (oncles) with tits (tontons). This restaurant had two poutines on its menu. The first, “la poutine à Godbout,” wasn’t a poutine at all – it was a gratin dauphinois, the fancy French name for scalloped potatoes. The second, “la poutine des ‘chickens’,” was a proper poutine with pork and beef, but there didn’t seem to be much, if any, chicken. That’s the one we tried out. We also ordered meat loaf (pain de viande) and received a dish that looked like a very thin (but tasty) shepherd’s pie. My side order of carrots was 90% turnips.
Fries: Although these are home-cut fries, properly cooked and not too greasy, they are a little too potato-ey, lacking the necessary salt or seasoning to give them taste. They are also pre-wilted, without the necessary crisp. 16/30.
Gravy: There are two kinds of sauce on this poutine. One is a bland brown gravy that does little for the bland fries. The other is ketchup. I realize some people put ketchup on their poutine, but this should be optional rather than imposed – everyone agreed that the ketchup made this poutine worse.20/50.
Cheese/toppings: There’s not enough cheese on this poutine, and most of it is melted and non-squeaky. The tasty grilled meat adds flavour to an otherwise bland poutine, particularly the crispy smoky bits. “That smoky ham is badass,” exclaimed one of my fellow diners. Despite this, the extra ingredients shouldn’t trump the cheese. 11/20.
TOTAL SCORE: 47/100
Verdict: The other meat & potato dishes at this place were much better than the poutine.
Value: Worst value for money in Montreal – over $10.00 for a small bowl of mediocre poutine.
Location: 3625 Rue Saint Denis, near Sherbrooke metro.