Perry's Food for the Soul

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Perry's is now closed and has changed ownership. A new BBQ place with an almost identical menu called "Pelton Smoke Barbecue" has opened in its place.

We were walking by the Pelton Center a couple of weeks ago (October 2003) when we noticed that Bar-B-Que & Seafood Unlimited had changed names and it was now called "Perry's Food for the Soul". We figured a change in name might signify a change in ownership and that we probably should give it another try.

Apparently the restaurant did change owners about a year ago. The new owner is a caterer and shows her touches in the side orders. Beyond that, the menu hasn't changed much since its Bar-B-Que & Seafood Unlimited days. It offers BBQ beef, links, chicken and ribs in lunch and dinner options ($7.25-8.75 for lunch, $9.75-11.95 for dinner), as well as catfish, red snapper and prawns ($8.85-$13.95). It also has jambalaya on Fridays and Saturdays.

There is now a choice of mild and hot BBQ sauce. I ordered a two-way of ribs and beef with mild sauce ($14.75) and Mike had the links with hot sauce. The mild sauce, which was pleasantly spicy, was fine, though no better than many bottled sauces (and worse than my favorite, Jack Daniels). The hot sauce wasn't particularly hot, however. Mike thought it was a little bit less hot than the medium sauce at E&J's (our favorite BBQ joint).

The meat was slightly better than what we had at Bar-B-Que & Seafood Unlimited. Supposedly, their stainless-steel state-of-the-art smoker uses oak, almond and apple woods, and the meat did have a light, pleasant smoke flavor. But still, it was nowhere as flavorful or tender as the meat you get at "real" (read old-fashioned) BBQ joints (read E&J's and Flint's in this area). The links also left much to be desired. They just weren't very tasty and they reminded us of hot-dogs. Not what you are looking for when you go to a BBQ joint (and pay $10.75 for a dinner portion - at least the old Bar-B-Que & Seafood Unlimited charged half of that).

What did shine through were the very generous side dishes. Here is where the owner's catering experience seems to show itself. We had the baked beans, the potato salad, the french fries and the candied yams (also available: greens, cole slaw and fried okra). Each dinner comes with two side dishes and the portions were huge. We both enjoyed the thin, spiced french fries - they are a treat in themselves. The cinnamon candied yams were also delicious - though who could possibly eat so many? I think if I ever hold a thanksgiving dinner again, I'll buy the candied yams from here. Mike thought both the beans and the potato salad were very good as well. Perhaps the owner should think about expanding her menu with basic American entrees (a la Boston market) as this seems to be their strength.

So in conclusion, we are unlikely to go back to Perry's Food for the Soul for BBQ (unless we feel a BBQ craving and are too lazy to drive to E&J's), but might get some of the side dishes again.

Perry's Food for the Soul
185 Pelton Center Way
San Leandro
Hours, Su-Mo 2-8 PM, T-Th 1130 AM-8 PM, F-Sa 1130 AM-9 PM