We went to Perla's on a recent Tuesday night. My impressions on a first visit:
*I definitely agree with other posters about the prices. It is very expensive for a casual place. Anytime you have $20+ entrees there should be some "white tablecloth" action. On Tuesday night it was only about 1/4 full at 7 pm. This is probably not a good sign for their business although it may significantly pick up on Thurs-Sat.
*On to the food - the appetizers were outstanding. Hubby had calamari and I had the crab salad. We wanted to try the crab cakes but did not.
*Entrees - halibut and snapper - both were good but not did not wow us. At $25 per plate they should have. The portion size was 4-5 oz with veggies for both.
*Dessert - they had a fried coconut pie (actually an empanada by appearance) with caramel ice cream that was righteous. Not something we would normally order but we decided to try it. YUM.
*Wine list - of reasonable breadth and about 2X markup retail which is par for the course for a restaurant like this.
*Service - very professional and attentive. Nice.
In all a good meal but too pricey for frequent return visits.
I was very impressed with the Fresh and Simple Oak Grilled Whole Loup de Mer (a Mediterranean Sea Bass) $26. This was enough fish for two people, really. The red Chimchurri sauce on the side was not needed. The flavors of the fish with the olive oil, salt and pepper was perfect just as it was. The calamari appetizer $12 was huge- enough for 4 people to share. What does need improvement was the clam, white bean, sausage chowder $8. It was more like a Thai hot and sour soup with fish sauce - the end result was too much saltiness. I'd really love a New England style chowder next time though. I'll be back for the whole fish experience!
We went last night in the early evening before the ballet--definitely casual in atmosphere as we felt overdressed. Flip-flops and shorts are definitely allowed here.
Based on dc2austin's recommendation we had the crabcake and it is most excellent. We had a grilled amberjack and a roasted tile fish and both were quite pleasing--cooked perfectly and about the right size--4 or 5oz. We also ordered two sides: spinach with garlic and grilled cream corn. The corn was amazing and I highly recommend it--just the right level of grilled with nice chunks of corn in the sweetness of the cream. For dessert we split the sundae and it was good but not amazing--it was more banana split with the banas (3 scoops served sideways).
All it all it was a darn good meal. Not top 10 in Austin good, but in the top 25. However, yes, it is pricey. We'll be back occasionally.
Sat at the oyster bar at Perla's last night. An hour + wait for a table. I agree on the main course prices- a little steep for "casual". But I got the crabcake appitezer and a side of grilled asparagus and it was plenty of food. The crabcake was one of the best I've had in austin. 98% crabmeat, moist, great flavor and topped with a little remoulade sacue and greens. Grilled asparagus were perfect. My friend had the halibut and wan't too happy with it, a bit too dry. In terms of portion size, I'd stick to the appetizer and a side. Will go back for sure!
i had a couple dozen oysters there this week. it is a great environment and the service was swift given how busy it was. I thought the prices were a little steep for a place that wants to move some oysters, but I guess the recession doesn't really affect SoCo.
I'd go back on someone else's dime. If I am paying that much for oysters though, i'm probably just going to go to parkside.