Train: Gare Centrale, Lucien-L’Allier
Metro: Peel, Lucien L’Allier, Bonaventure
Bus: STM 15, 74, 75, 107, 178, 410, 420, 427, 430, 435, 715, 747, 935
Visit: November 22, 2012
Downtown Montreal is quite the area of town. For those lucky enough to work or study here, you have a vast amount of places you can choose when it comes to eating. If you’re even luckier, those places can be found within your own office building. The Sun Life building on Metcalfe is home to a lot of big time companies, but it is also where a little known restaurant finds itself, Peroni.
Usually, finding new places in the downtown core is something of a challenge. We all know the big names that reside in this area. Those places have been scrutinized over and over again, which leaves us wondering if there are other places that haven’t quite been shown the spotlight yet. It’s always a good revelation to find a burger that I haven’t tried yet in this rather busy area.
I can’t go any further without mentioning the Sun Life building. I’ve passed by this place so many times in the last 10 years without giving it much of second thought. The architecture of this building is something that really impresses me. Now that it has taken on its Christmas facade, it is just another notch more impressive than normal.
Having said that, trying to find Peroni might be quite a challenge if you don’t know where to look. If you’re headed north on Metcalfe, you should enter at the last door your see. A few steps inside the lobby and you’ll find Peroni to your left. Sometimes, this might lead to a lack of visibility and might just discourage people from wanting to spend valuable minutes from finding the restaurant.
At the entrance, you can see a rather nice looking waiting area. When I arrived, all the chairs were filled with people, none of whom were actually waiting for the restaurant. My initial thoughts were that the place was closed and that people were waiting for some odd reason. So, I was a tad bit hesitant going in at first.
Once I made it to the front desk, I noticed that the immediate dining area was vacant of any people. I could hear a group of people at the back of the room, but I was still left wondering whether or not I was entering an open restaurant. It took a few moments, but finally, the sole server showed up and I was seated. Things were rolling and I couldn’t be any happier.
It’s pretty clear, Christmas is coming and Montreal is starting to transform to reflect that. The artificial fireplace was already decked out in the traditional tinsel that we all know to be one of the telltale signs of a favorite holiday. Also, it didn’t quite hurt that what looked like a Christmas party was starting to assemble as I was in the midst of eating.
Upon looking to the ceiling, I noticed something that I’ve never quite seen during any of my other burger conquests, a chandelier. While most people would dismiss this as being normal, for me, it’s something that I’ve never had the chance to see in person. It’s just another touch to add to the impression that was starting to build in my mind.
Looking around, it’s a very nice space. I can’t imagine what the rest of the Sun Life building rooms look like, but this restaurant seems fitting. Everything from the tables to the chairs, I was quite impressed with what I was seeing. It was a nice place to have a burger for a bit of time.
As mentioned before, the whole dining room was being served by one server. At times, it was seemingly a safe decision, but at other moments, there was a severe lack of coverage. Ringing phones were often missed by just a mere second. People would walk in and be forced to wait for what seemed like an eternity. For me, the service started briskly, mainly because the room was still quite empty. But as things picked up, waiting around was more common. Clearing my plate and waiting for the bill was longer than what anyone could be accustomed to.
What makes a restaurant experience special or memorable is what you get to see as you’re sitting at a table. As I was eating, I was able to watch restaurant business go down. There was this man with a pretty big briefcase and he was there, from what I was able to surmise, to peddle wine. It was a pretty animated exchange between management and this individual, but something that you don’t get to see every day.
This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, provolone cheese, and bacon.
Upon first inspection, I was actually looking forward to eating this burger. The big glob of cheese and mushrooms at the center of the burger was one that actually got me excited. Time and time again, I feel defeated before taking a first bite. With this burger, I was actually looking forward to taking that first bite.
Before heading into more into what the burger was like, I just want to note some of the other components on the plate. Usually, I don’t really mention the fries, but these were out of the ordinary. The fries on this plate were covered with spices that actually created a side dish worthy of having a burger next to it.
With that lump of cheesy goodness in the middle of the burger, it created a slight problem. The edge of the burger was devoid of that strong flavour in the middle. But, once you got to the center, you got something that really makes the whole burger better.
While, as a whole, I really liked the combination of mushrooms, onions, and cheese, there were some slight drawbacks that holds the burger back a bit. The bacon was there, but didn’t really contribute as much as the cheesy lump. While the provolone cheese looked pretty good, something a little stronger would have put it over the top. Don’t get me wrong, what was in the burger was strong enough as it is.
In the end, there might have been a few drawbacks, but I actually enjoyed having this burger. There were a lot of choices of ingredients for this burger that all really worked to the end result, a satisfying burger. I wouldn’t be hesitant at all to point people towards this burger, because it’s worth at least one try.
Peroni is a place that is located in the heart of Montreal’s most influential district. While the pool of potential customers is large, one can only hope that they’ll come to find the really nice space and affordable menu.