Martin Picard has always revolutionized the classical image of the traditional Quebecois cabane à sucre experience. Sure he incorporates a lot of pork, maple, the traditional fluffy omelet, tire and other sugar shack treats but he isn’t one for conventions, he likes to break the rules. That’s exactly how we felt this year when we attended an Asian inspired sugar shack experience at the Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon (PDC).
This was actually our 9th visit at Quebec’s most famous and gourmet sugar shack, click HERE to read about our last visit at the Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon (PDC) during harvest season, or HERE to read about our last maple season visit. We’re veterans of the place! And, of course, this sugar shack is all about foie gras, and they don’t skimp out on this melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.
We started with two appetizers with foie gras right away, deep fried foie gras that you had to eat in one bite because the foie gras was creamy and burst in your mouth like pure bliss. But Martin Picard is rather insane so he added a little surprise in the form of Pop Rocks candy that gave you a little sweet pop that made the 90s kid in us giggle.
We’re starting to think that Martin Picard is God… no seriously! As of late, the Divas have been on an intense ramen crawl, trying ramen all over the city. And it’s like he knew because this year the customary soup was a bowl of ramen, with an uncooked quail egg, and a skewer of foie gras to tantalize your taste buds. Diva #1 ate two of her friends skewers because they aren’t huge fans of foie gras… she loves sitting at Cabane PDC with friends like that.
Continuing with the Asian theme, a steaming plate of dumplings arrived at our table. Most of you likely know that peanut butter dumplings are not actually Asian but a North American invention. Actually they originate from Montreal, so in a way they are the perfect Asian delicacy for a sugar shack. Shrimp and lobster dumplings were topped with pieces of foie gras in a creamy delectable sauce.
The salmon tartare came in a perfect little dome topped with caviar eggs and filled with fresh salmon and sushi rice. The salmon tartare dome was served with a wasabi maple soy sauce that we lathered on the sushi, the sweet and salty from the maple and soy sauce was wonderful on the palate.
Up until this point you may think that this is one strange cabane à sucre, and it was, but fret not dear readers, a few more classic dishes were revamped in the usual Cabane PDC style. Famous at his restaurant for his duck in a can, or canard en conserve, Martin Picard loves experimenting with cooking methods. The cod in a can with potatoes was decadent, buttery, and perfection when served on top of a mini deep fried pancake.
Every sugar shack experience includes an egg dish, Cabane PDC is no different, and though this was our 9th visit, we assure you that we have never had the same egg dish twice. This season, baloney was wrapped in an omelet that was rolled and barbecued to solidify the roll. It was packaged nicely with parchment paper, and our waiter opened it up, sliced it up and explained that it was best served with a heaping spoonful of the maple beans and a drizzle of béchamel. He wasn’t wrong…
And then heaven arrived in a platter of the most succulent beef with a sweet crust and sauce that had us licking the skillet that it was served in. If that wasn’t enough it was served with skewers of beef carpaccio for that 100% real beef experience. Honestly, beef has never tasted this good! Our waiter described this dish as a boeuf bourguignon, but it certainly didn’t taste like any boeuf bourguignon that we have ever tasted, we’re sure that it would have stumped even Julia Child.
We’re never going to get over that slow cooked beef… ever. The meat fell apart at the touch of your fork and it sat on top of perfectly cooked onions and mushrooms, with a huge bone full of bone marrow in the middle of the dish. Diva #1 got to suck that bone dry! But in the usual Picard fashion that was not the only meat platter, we were also served a stuffed chicken ballotine, but we were getting rather full and didn’t indulge much in this dish, it was our least favourite of the meat platters before us.
And for once at the Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon we had pied de cochon, aka pig’s feet. A large pig’s foot was stuffed to bursting with sausage and once again an almost caramelized skin, had to be broken through to get to the succulent meat within. The hint of maple was perfect with the saltiness of the pork, and it was served with a creamy risotto was a different texture and flavour.
We were stuffed to the gills when the desserts came. A large pâte à choux pastry with both English cream and maple butter tickled our taste buds. It was also served next to tire on frozen pink Himalayan salt for that perfect lick of sweet maple taffy and a hint of saltiness staying true to that umami feel that Asian cuisine is known for.
The cutest little antique tea cup arrived with an Earl Gray soft serve ice cream. Picard always ends his meal with a different soft serve concoction and this time it was served with mochi, a Japanese rice cake that is made into a sweet paste. If that wasn’t enough, a cheesecake pudding chomeur revolutionized another sugar shack classic.
Expect the unexpected, some bark arrived with a mallet but if you looked closely you would notice that not all tree barks were the same. Some were actually trees, we know because Peaches’ beau licked one, but one of them was a thick dark chocolate bark. You used the mallet to crack the bark and release the wonderful hazelnut praline with a maple mousse that was bursting within. This was most definitely our favourite of the desserts!
Martin Picard you’ve done it yet again, on our 9th visit we can attest that we’ve never seen the same dish twice and you always find new and inventive ways to tickle our taste buds. If you want a unique and very gourmet sugar shack experience, you need to try the Cabane PDC, you must reserve months in advance but trust us, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced!
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
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