The closest Ontario can get to the greatness of Au Pied De Cochon in Montreal? After reading that quote on Murray Street’s website, and still savoring memories from my recent visit to APDC, I had to see for myself just how valid this claim was.
We walked in to a relatively quiet and small space, covered in burnished wood with a small bar on the right. It wasn’t too busy and we were promptly seated at a cozy table in the rear of the restaurant. The waiter was friendly and service was prompt yet didn’t feel rushed. We ordered:
Served in a small cast iron pot, this was their take on the classic quebec dish. Instead of fries, there were uneven bits of hand made spaetzle, stuck together with gooey and fully melted cheese curds, topped with a light brown gravy and Le Coprin mushrooms. First bite was pure cheesy goodness. I was surprised by how well all the elements went well together. Each fork full pulled away with strands of cheese, wondefully stringy and unending. I suppose it is technically more of a mac and cheese than a poutine, but whatever way you want to spin it, it got the essence of poutine but minus the post-grossness. I loved this!
This was my dining partner’s dish, but I was lucky enough to get to try a couple bites of it. This is one of the more popular dishes, and after trying it, definitely could see why. The duck meat was pull apart tender, melting in your mouth. It was covered with a crunchy layer of skin that drenched the meat in its juices when you bit into it. The sauce on top added just a hint of sweetness that accented the duck perfectly. It made me regret not ordering it, it was that good. nothing short of amazing!
Pig shoulder served on top of stewed beans with roasted carrots and apples. The pork was tender, but was a little hard to cut because it was still a little stringy and not as tender as the duck was. But it did taste very good. Each element of this dish was cooked to a flavor that cooperated well with all the others. The beans were sweet and viscous. The roasted carrots were crunchy and smoky and the apple chunks were tart cubes that added that little bit of kick. Overall, great dish, but definitely not as good as the duck.
4 lb Carrot Cake
I have no idea why they call this a 4 lb carrot cake, I should’ve asked, but it definitely was small compared to what we expected from the menu listing. It was a very dense, almost like a chocolate pate consistency cake, surrounded by caramel sauce and topped with a cream cheese frosting. I personally liked this dessert, and although each of the elements was a bit too much when tasted individually, when eaten together, transformed into some more ooey gooey goodness.
Every part of the dessert is made with some local beer brew, so the cake is beer spiced, the frosting had beer, the ice cream was Pascale’s Beer ice cream, and topped with beer nuts. It was quite interesting, but the cake was too dry and the different parts of the dessert didn’t really go very well together. It was a meh dessert and I wouldn’t order it again.
Murray Street is all about sourcing local ingredients, so think Beau’s beer, fish from the Whalesbone etc. The atmosphere is best described as a refined casual. No snooty, overdone minimal contemporary feel that seems to plague many new restaurants nowadays, but a down to earth upscale dining experience founded on friendly directness.
Overall I had a great evening at Murray Street. Not even close to Au Pied de Cochon though on any level, perhaps only the fact that their menu is very meat based, but none of the characteristic richness and excess that defines APDC. And you definitely don’t get as full or as much food as APDC. Price to value ratio is a bit high compared to other places I have gone to, but the food quality is definitely deserving of it.
110 Murray St.