I’m a sucker for anything that is authentic in its food ideals. You know, fried green tomatoes cooked by a chef who grew up on them. That kind of thing. Perly’s, in downtown Richmond, VA, serves up that good deli fare you think of when you think of NYC. A Jewish deli right here in RVA. Whoda thunk it? I mean they have beef tongue on the menu. And, it’s not off to the side or on the back lower left corner of the menu. It sits right beside the pastrami and roast beef. That’s some authenticity in my book people.
I ordered the rueben for lunch because I’m also a sucker for a rueben. It’s one of my dad’s favorite sandwiches and so I’m sure this amalgamation of sauerkraut and russian dressing became ingrained in my tastebuds too. I feel that I’m also searching for the perfect rueben. Come to think of it, so is my mom, which means, of course, that I got it from both sides people. Both sides. I’m hopeless.
I’m not sure this is the best rueben of my life, but it’s the most authentic, delicious, flavor filled one I’ve had in a long, long time. Just look at the pastrami trying so hard (and failing) at staying within the lines. And that dressing following after like a best friend does. Oh, buttered and toasted rye, you hand me with your golden eye.
The decor at Perly’s is spot on, too. You step into the scene of a 1940’s deli with wooden booths and plasticized menu placemats. They even have it down to the that thin bulk restaurant quality flatware. Because, and I agree one hundred percent here, when deciding between pricey flatware or the opaque glass lighting features, always go with the lighting features. Besides, only food nerds who drag in their Nikon DSLRs will notice these things, but everyone will notice the lights. Everyone.
On my way out I asked where they source their bagels and when I heard “Brooklyn,” well, I got one to go. Just look at this wrapping paper. Swoon.
When I opened the bagel’s wrapping, I was hit with garlic and everything was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow*. The bagel had a great chew with a firm, yet soft crumb and sweetness from the high gluten flour and possible molasses pre-bake bath. We don’t make bagels like this down south. Heck, bagels? We barely know ya.
Go to Perly’s. Take a crew of people. Order all the things like the cheese blintzes, a slice of chocolate babka, a breakfast sandwich on a Brooklyn bagel, the Jewish egg rolls, the latkes, and just love life and thank the universe that Perly’s is Yiddish for delicious.
*Get the reference and I might just send you a prize. Who wants a kosher dill pickle?