REVIEW: Plateau resto-dive Perfecto

We indulged in some of the finger-licking grungy goodness served up at this rock ‘n’ roll oasis on Duluth.

Perfecto FB

A Perfecto platter

Since its soft opening in July, Plateau resto-venue Perfecto has steadily garnered attention as a go-to haunt for rock ’n’ roll, a solid alternative to the Main’s club/lounge-heavy scenery. It’s a spot that embodies the raw, unpretentious style of the music they play, from its dive bar interior of epoxied plywood and tile in black and gold paint, right down to the food their kitchen’s slinging. Culled together from fresh Jean-Talon products and assembled by chef Dermott Kean (formerly of Bethlehem XXX) and manager Jean-Philippe Bourgeois, the appeal of Perfecto’s menu comes from how it interprets its pub grub and finger foods. Expect to get your hands messy.

IMG_1182“We wanted trash, but not trash, you know? Upscale trash food,” Bourgeois tells me during a pre-meal chat. It’s a statement that makes sense once a plate arrives in front of you. Take the kale salad for example ($9): It’s a mound of greens, roasted sunflower seeds and double-cream feta topped with a light homemade blueberry vinaigrette that gives the mix a purplish hue. All this is unforgivingly served in the same bowl they tossed it in, in a way that back-slappingly says “eat up!” With presentation as less of a priority than taste, dishes like the salad do away with razzmatazz and go for a purely soul food effect. Each bite’s creamy and fresh, with onion and julienned radish leveraging the coarse texture of the kale. It’s by far one of my favourite veggie options on the menu, but I’d just as soon suggest their black bean Sloppy Joe ($12) or the house red pepper jelly they serve up with toast ($3).

While most of the menu can be easily shared, if you’re with friends, go with the off-menu Perfecto platter that your waiter is bound to recommend ($15). Served on a cafeteria-style divided plate, the kitchen tends to mix up what’s served. Among the possibilities are thick-cut fries and fried pickles with chipotle mayo for the salt-inclined, a simple iceberg-based garden salad, sweet shards of house brittle with embedded nuts and pretzels and a walloping potato skin towered with sour cream, hot peppers and a crude garnish of roughly hewn veggies.

IMG_1184As for smaller but still substantial entrees, try the canard buffalo ($11): duck confit breaded with panko and lightly fried, dressed with house buffalo sauce and blue cheese-infused sour cream that add a welcome tanginess without overpowering the meat. Consider this an alternative to the chicken wings you’d find in most pubs. Once served, the breading isn’t quite so crisp, but that’s undoubtedly due to the savoury sauces coating the final product. No matter, as each bite of dark, cured meat falls off the bone and ends on notes of salt, herbs and garlic. And while undoubtedly on the greasy side, the grease of the legs is balanced out by a garnish of celery and marinated jalapeño. Finger-licking good.

If you’re not into duck, get your umami on with Perfecto’s mussels in yellow curry ($12), served with a side of garlic bread. Rolling in a deep bowl of aromatic, bright yellow Thai sauce, the seafood’s tastily accented by coconut and dressed in grilled pineapple and cilantro sprigs. With a good tension between its curry and coconut milk, it’s a revitalizing kind of dish — extra points go to the fresh stalks of lemongrass you can chew between bites. Just make sure to order extra bread with this one to sop up the sauce.


All told, it’s a delicious mix of grit, grunge and grease on the cheap side that makes this place work as either a pit stop or an anchor. Whether for dinner in the evening or late-night drunken munchies (kitchen closes around 2:30 a.m.), skip the ‘za on St-Laurent and ask for a menu between bouts on their dancefloor. 


20 Duluth E., 514-903-7373