By Lee Johnston ~
Open on Waxhaw’s South Main Street for a few months now, Le Cochon d’Or, translated as the Golden Pig, is the country cousin of Aix en Provence in Myers Park. Ranking no. 3 on Charlotte Magazine’s latest 50 Best Restaurants list, the Myers Park restaurant is also owned by Bryan St. Clair and Patrick Garrivier.
With just over a dozen tables for four, Le Cochon d’Or’s decor is crisp and light and tastefully decorated. As you would expect, the tables are properly set, flatware and glasses are changed according to what you’ve ordered, and the service is excellent.
To test the mettle of any fine restaurant, one need only reserve for a party of six: two SCCL seniors, a son, and three well-behaved granddaughters, ages 8, 10, and 12. To be fair to other patrons and the owner who might look askance at three youngsters, we reserved a table for 5:15, early enough to enjoy our meal and be on our way before 7 o’clock.
In this location, Chef Nicholas Tarnate offers a menu of Alsatian and Lyonnaise dishes. Hors d’oeuvres, including salads and the soup du jour, range from $10 to $21, and Plats Principaux from $29 to $32. There are specials, just a few variations on what was on the printed menu. We usually order whatever strikes our fancy on a menu, from appetizers to main courses, and have it all served at the same time so that no one wanting a “main course” of a few appetizers has them served before the others.
The three girls ordered and enjoyed the hors d’oeuvre of lobster, half a tail and the meat of one claw, poached in butter, served with orzo, mascarpone cheese, and a crispy Parmesan tuile. Your reviewer had the soup de jour, a delicious mushroom velouté, in a crème fraiche base. We also ordered servings of Moules Frites, mussels, and French fries. The fries were floppy and forgettable, but the mussels were delicious. We polished them off and dipped the wonderfully crusty bread in the golden sauce of white wine enhanced with Dijon mustard and saffron. You know they were good when the oldest and youngest granddaughters vied for the last one.
Our son had the delicious Poulet Schnitzel, a very crispy version of a dish we often expect to be veal, and spouse enjoyed the perfectly prepared Scottish Salmon.
For the adults, our son ordered a bottle of a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the Le Cochon d’Or’s excellent wine list. Note: go for it when you come upon a wine of color opposite the usual, like this wonderful, rare white version of a normally red Rhone wine. You won’t be disappointed.
We never saw a dessert menu because our server mentioned that Chocolate soufflés were available. We ordered three to be prepared while we enjoyed our meal. When they came, they were beautiful. Owner Patrick Garrivier poured hot crème anglaise in the center of each one. Undercooked but deliciously dark chocolate, they were more like pudding than soufflé. To round out the meal, we had French press coffee, while the girls enjoyed even more chocolate—this time, as suggested by our server, cups of hot chocolate especially prepared for them by the chef.
We didn’t know what to expect in this new restaurant, but we were delighted that this bit of French elegance has made its way to Waxhaw—no fighting Charlotte traffic for this level of fine dining. A couple at the next table, obviously regulars at Aix en Provence, told the owner what a pleasure it was to have such a short ride that evening. For more information, hours, and menus, visit the website of Le Cochon d’Or at lecochondorwxhw.com.
Lee Johnston is a resident of Sun City Carolina Lakes as well as an editor of and regular contributor to Living @ SCCL magazine where this review was originally published. It is republished here with permission from the author. Thanks, Lee!
Photos are courtesy of Le Cochon d’Or. Please see restaurant details in our directory.