Sunday, March 26, 2006

Perly's on a Saturday Night

Perly's has been a fixture in Richmond for decades. The "place to go" downtown for breakfast or lunch. Perly's is now serving dinner on Friday and Saturday nights with a jazz trio playing on Saturday. Despite the great reviews, a new dinner menu, and jazz; I still had never been to Perly's until last night. What made me change my mind and insist on going? Last week I found out that Perly's is one of the few non-smoking establishments in Richmond and it may be the only non-smoking place in Richmond where I can have a decent meal and listen to live jazz. Miracles can happen!

As we entered Perly's all was laid back, very relaxed. We seated ourselves and admired the wooden art deco booths. Funky circa 1930's lamps illuminated each table. The wait staff had a folksy attitude, nothing rushed, but still very attentive. My husband and I perused the wine list which was very short, but offered quality choices for $25 and under. We decided upon a Penfolds Thomas Hyland Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia 2003 ($22). A mix of very dark fruit and tannin with a little acidity on the finish. Upon tasting the wine (which was served in nice, big wine glasses - yay!) I decided to order the prime rib with mashed potatoes and green beans. My husband ordered the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a salad.

The prime rib was a wonderful medium rare, just as ordered. The mashed potatoes were real (thank goodness!) served with a mushroom gravy (I could have done without the mushrooms, personally). But the green beans, oh the green beans took me back to my grandmother's cooking. Well done beans cooked in a significant amount of bacon to give that old-fashioned smoky flavor. True comfort food. My husband was intrigued by the house dressing for his salad, a sesame-soy affair. After tasting it, he was ready for sushi. In the end he thought it was a touch too salty. His meatloaf was very filling but a little bland (it did not remind him of his mom's).

While we ate and enjoyed our wine we listed to Carol Covell and company - a guitarist and bassist. Carol has this great silky, sultry voice which matched the atmosphere very well. The trio performed vocal standards with some instrumentals (a la Les Paul and Django Reinhardt) interspersed. The guitarist and bassist maintained a good balance between instruments. In between sets Carol made a point to stop at each table and thank patrons for coming. I appreciated the personal touch.

Non-smoking, great jazz, retro decor, relaxed staff, nostalgic side dishes, and good wine values. How could anyone go wrong?

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