3780 Wellington St/ between Hickson & Lasalle Blvd.
Tel: (514) 907-0816
Cost: $120.99 – wine, tax and tip included
Chef Hats: 5
As 2019 comes to an end, it is safe to say that there was but a small handful of remarkable restaurants that have left a lasting and favorable impression on this foodie’s soul this year. Some had been around for a while; and others were somewhat newer. Montreal is forever a revolving door of openings and closures, this year and probably the next, will be no different. Of course, some landmark restos are completely gone from the landscape. But it goes to say that there is never enough time and money to try them all. So, it will be that other’s will take their place, and there will always be somewhere to dine at to create new memories and lasting impressions.
Restaurant Pigor in Verdun, is one of those places that merits a review by year’s end mainly because it was such a pleasant unexpected surprise. The food was delicious and different, company was even better and the evening went off without a glitch. For me it is always about the overall experience and this one is on top, while the others fall behind.
Pigor is located on Wellington Street, in a former Boho café that was typical of many cafes that line the streets of Verdun. A mish mash of décor, the food was inexpensive, the atmosphere very relaxed, and students would spend long hours reading and sipping coffee. They came more for the ambiance and a cheap eat, than anything else. So, when the buzz surrounding Pigor started in 2018, I was wondering where they had set up on Wellington Street and who they had replaced? The address and my faithful GPS, revealed it was in the space I had frequented once with my girlfriend who lives a few blocks away. Remembering what it had looked like before, I was surprised when I entered the restaurant to reveal that the space has been totally transformed into a clean slate of minimalistic and modern themes.
I first heard of Pigor in 2018, when some of my foodie friends raved about it. It reminded me of a mix of names from beloved characters in Winnie the Pooh movies as a child, what a strange name I thought, a mix of Piglet and Eeyore, but such is not the case. Pigor’s name stems from a mix of the principal owners’ surnames. A perfect name for the gluttonous.
In fact, the space which had been taken over by new management in December 2017 was now currently owned by three partners, Sidney Gordon- Chef and sisters Julie Anna and Laurence Pilote. Julie Anna is the sommelier and Laurence is head waitress. Gordon and Julie Anna met while working at Europea, and their sous-chef Gauthier Mauries met Gordon while working at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Casino de Montreal. A great team that is professional, knowledgeable and classy. One can’t help but think what is a restaurant of this caliber doing in Verdun.?
The restaurant which now has two main dining rooms, look so much larger. One area looks over a small open kitchen and a bar. The other facing the front of the house is simple and non-pretentious in themes of black & white tables and chairs, exposed brick walls and light wooden floors.
The menu is simple, but has some pretty elaborate dishes that would please the finest of palates. It contains eight entrees and main meals. The first section emphasizes lots of vegetable dishes and the second part of the menu has more fish, meats and poultry. Prices are reasonable but not cheap. It is considered fine dining, so portions are small. Items found on the menu range in the likes of Octopus on Black Ink, Scallops with Salsify Risotto, Duck Magret, Lamb and Sweetbreads.
If we must classify Pigor and place it in a category, basically, they’re more of a mix of a fusion dishes, with local Quebec produce, daily market cuisine, and a few Italian dishes all the while placing a large emphasis on legumes. Pigor is vegan friendly, but they also have Rib Steak and Bone Marrow on the menu.
Gordon’s plate presentations are reminiscent of what you would get at any high-end restaurant. The flavors and textures are masterful combined and well paired. The dishes are original and super flavorful. Although, Pigor is considered a bistro, I would not classify it as just a run of the mill French bistro as their concepts are above notch, all remastered to contain the typical French classics with a “je ne sais quoi” flair.
Their cocktail list is fun and funky, featuring 16 original in house cocktails as well as non-alcoholic options. The wine list is equally impressive, filled with all sorts of privately imported bio wines. Pilote has done a fantastic job when it comes to beverages choices, but the wine list is not cheap, starting at $55.00 a bottle, and up and they do not serve wine by the glass, at least not when I visited.
We started our meal with a 2016 San Martino- La Busattina, from Tuscany an Orange biological wine, recommended by Julie Anne, it was perfect for the meal, the cost environs $ 75.00 shared among three people it came to $ 25.00 plus each. Not overpowering, dry subtle with light citrus notes, it paired well with scallops and the tartare.
From the entrée section we settled on a Brussels Sprouts Salad, Beef Foie Gras Tenderloin, Beef Tartare, Octopus in Black Aioli, Beet Samphire Caviar. Everything sampled was exquisite, perfect flavors, well-seasoned and very tasty. Aside from the Brussel Salad and the beef tartare which were ample for one, the other dishes were a smaller and not meant to be shared.
The Brussels Sprouts salad was prepared Caesar-style, with bacon, small cubed croutons and Parmesan cheese, it was generous portion of mixed greens with great flavor and texture combination that could have easily been shared and was quite filling for one person.
The Beef Foie Gras Tenderloin with Quince was also very flavorful and delicious, a seared tenderloin sized portion in its jus, it was tender and it came served with pickled quince and light slivers of lightly infused garlic bread.
The Beef Tartare was not the typical bistro type, but rather a carpaccio of thinly sliced beef, topped with foie gras, roasted hazelnuts and quince. The flavors and texture were delicious, a perfect combination of crunchiness and smooth and velvety creamy mix of foie gras and cured meat, Just heavenly.
The Octopus in a Black in Aioli sauce, was served with homemade potato chips. It came beautifully presented and was amazingly good, and not overcooked, still tender, not rubbery and the garlicky squid ink, took it one notch higher by adding more flavor to another perfect dish.
The Beet Samphire Caviar, was a small portion and more of a teaser. Our diner was not impressed, but liked it all the same.
Among the mains sampled, we tried, Parmesan Risotto with Truffles, the Guninea Fowl, The False-otto Scallops which was made risotto style, Sweetbreads, Bone Marrow and Cod Clementine. All hit the mark in every aspect, everything from taste to the presentations were awe inspiring. The flavors an explosion of magic on the taste buds. We were all blown away by the chef ‘s creativity and skill of pairing the perfect items together, making them look like something else and still being palatable.
For desserts, we had two options: a deconstructed lemon meringue pie and a peach cobbler type baba dessert that came with a fruit berry compote. Both were delicious, the merengue pie, being the winner.
Service was friendly and quick for a large group. No qualms, no issues. The cost, $ 121.00 per person, with wine tax and tip included, the price to pay for a great soiree, but I would do it over again anytime soon.