The signature dish is pork over potatoes with cheese and sour cream.
The food is steam table with a choice of three meats ... stewed pork, stewed chicken and ground beef which can be ordered in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, conchas and combo plates. Sides include refried beans, whole beans, rice spaghetti and potatoes.
There are also pork tamales and nachos. Ribs are also on the menu. Cakes are by Cassandras. There's canned soda,juice and bottled water.
That is it.
All I could remember from antarticwidow's recommendation was pork, so to be safe I ordered three tacos ... one chicken, one beef and one pork. The really nice man at the counter comes back with three hard taco shells a la Taco Bell, one of which is filled with ground beef.
"Do you want cheese lettuce tomatoes and sour cream on that?, I'm asked
I'm aghast. "Um, I wanted soft tacos''
"They are three dollars" I'm told
Since one shell is loaded with ground beef, I go with cheese lettuce and tomatos on that.
'Do you want rice and beans in the soft taco" I'm asked
"Um, no.Just cilantro and onions"
"We don't have cilantro. There might be some in the salsa"
At this point I thought antarticwidow had lost her mind. Still this place has been in business since 1949 and had a steady stream of customers despite being in one of Richmond's sorriest neighborhoods. Read the yelp reviews. A few are hilarious about the nabe.
I go with chicken with beans and salsa and pork with salsa
In terms of the hard shell taco, it was one of the best i've had in this area. There's a lot of juicy ground beef in a thin, wonderful hard shell. The crunch, the veggies, the shredded American cheese and beef is just plain Mexican-American goodness.
SKIP ... skip ... the soft shell tacos. This is all about Mexican-American and the further one gets from that ... well.
They were HUGE tacos. There must have been at least a half pound of meat in two large tacos that had a lard bath. The meat was fine, the whole beans were ... Mexican-American and the salsa amounted to chopped tomatoes.
I sort of chuckled at the Yelp review about the mega-sized nachos that read ' I go with nachos with meat, refried beans, cheese, cheese, cheese, and enchilada sauce. OMG. The container almost broke it was sooooooooooooooo heavy. So, me and my 7 pounds of nachos get back to the office ... they put so much cheese on it, I felt like I was really eating nachos."
La Perla is the king of old-style Mexican-American. I doubt if the place or menu has changed a bit since 1949. The staff is super nice. Despite tommorrow being my last day in the Bay Area (keep your fingers crossed. I've had 3 false starts) ... despite my plans to have lunch at Fremont Diner in Sonoma .. I think I may change that so I can try that pork over potatoes with cheese and sour cream.
Has anyone tried the ribs or spaghetti?
La Perla's facebook page
La Perla Delicatessen
338 Nevin Ave, Richmond, CA 94801