When Paul Verica’s Heritage Food and Drink closed up shop in Waxhaw last year, to open up The Stanley in Charlotte, locals were left worrying what would become of their once-favorite spot to eat. Owners Bryan St. Clair and Patrick Garivier destroyed those worries with the opening of Le Cochon d’Or. Translated as “The Golden Pig,” Le Cochon d’Or is a spiritual compatriot to Garivier and St. Clair’s other restaurant, Aix En Provence.
Unlike Aix En Provence, which serves southern-inspired French cuisine (think lighter food with an almost Mediterranean flare), Le Cochon d’Or takes inspiration from the foods native to the cities in the Northeastern countryside of France, like Lyon and Alsace. The fare here is heartier and less focused on seafood than Aix En Provence, and there’s more of it. Le Cochon d’Or emphasizes its gourmand nature with a menu section entitled, “gourmandises” which means “to eat greedily.”
Dishes at Le Cochon d’Or don’t hold back. The menu is full of intense, rich flavors like foie gras and fricassees of poultry (chicken that’s been cut up, braised, and served with sauce), and generous use of butter and cream, of course. However, the richness of the food is balanced by the menu’s emphasis on seasonality; vegetables and their reductions play a more significant role in what is served than the meats.
The pig isn’t gilded, but gold through and through: From shrimp Louie to smoked salmon with aged balsamic, beets, and soft cook egg, the flavors and textures are painstakingly managed to ensure guests leave with a deep sensation of satisfaction.
The spark of Le Cochon d’Or came when Executive Chef Nicholas Tarnate and owner Patrick Garivier rode out from Charlotte into Waxhaw to see the building. As Providence Road travels down into Union County, the rolling hills of green grass look just like French Countryside. The aesthetic paired with the many farms in the area ( New Town, Boy and Girl, Tega Hills, and the Chefs-garden) fit perfectly with the Tarnate and Garivier’s conception of a restaurant based around provincial fare.
The hospitality, passion, and service once unique to Aix En Provence has been transported to Waxhaw, making the city worthy of a visit for the sole purpose of enjoying a meal at The Golden Pig.