Perly’s | Jewish Deli Reborn | Richmond, VA

Review by: Michael Stern

Old-World Menu in a New American Kitchen

All too often, when modern chefs put their spin on traditional recipes the result has neither the charm of the old nor the thrill of the new. Perly’s, a Richmond deli that opened in 1961, combines the best of those two worlds. Here you will find vintage classics prepared with 21st century culinary brio: a Jewish Deli reborn! Its broad, inviting menu tempts appetite with meals that deliver all kinds of satisfaction: vintage, modern, and a mix of both.

Classics Re-imagined

Take matzoh brei. (Brei rhymes with eye.) Customarily, it mixes eggs and matzoh crackers, sautes them in butter, and becomes a yeast-free cognate of French toast. Here that formula becomes the foundation for a flight of fancy. Cooks lace the egg-soaked matzohs with scallions and cheddar cheese. They then top the whole affair with cooked-soft apples and plum jam. The savory/sweet collusion mercilessly teases taste buds.

Potato pancakes enjoy a makeover, too. Instead of regular apple sauce (a usual companion), they are topped with apricot apple sauce. Instead of regular sour cream, they sit in a spill of chive sour cream.

The kitchen’s modernization campaign goes wild with a bloody Mary, here dubbed bloody Miriam. They garnish beet-infused vodka with pickled cauliflower, carrots, and house-made pickle. Everything-(but-the) bagel seeds adorn the rim of the glass.

Inviolable Dishes

On the other hand, some dishes remain unfussed with. The Reuben sandwich is an unimprovable pile of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye. Lokshen kugel, a traditional noodle pudding, is the sweet comfort food you want it to be. An egg cream, while not served in a shapely soda-fountain glass, blends of milk, chocolate syrup, and soda in the classic way. It’s a drink that is rich as eggs and thick as cream, but contains neither.

The vast menu includes lots of multiple-ingredient sandwiches. Breakfast and brunch entrees range from schnitzel Perlstein (named for the deli’s original founder) to bagels & lox, blintzes, and corned beef hash. Of course, you may choose a smoked fish platter or Old-World soup (matzoh ball, borscht). Those looking for serious dinner may avail themselves of beef brisket, roasted chicken, and fried trout served with matzoh polenta.

Service with a Smile

One aspect of the classic deli that you will not find at this Jewish deli reborn is crabby-old-man waiters. The staff here serves meals with enthusiastic good cheer.

What To Eat

Lokshen Kugel

DISH
Potato Pancake

DISH
Matzoh Brei

DISH
Reuben

DISH
Pierogi

DISH
Benny Goodman

DISH
Deli Dog

DISH
Gribenes

DISH
French Fries

DISH
Egg Cream

DISH
Bloody Miriam

DISH
Babka

DISH

Perly’s | Jewish Deli Reborn | Richmond, VA Recipes

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