Saturday, June 05, 2004

It's not the Old North Church or the Liberty Bell

. . . .or even the San Gabriel Mission. But in Los Angeles it counts as history. And, as is the time-honoured custom in Los Angeles, they're tearing it down. It's Perino's, the landmark Wilshire Boulevard restaurant where at one time you could've seen Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, me, Tyrone Power, or Cary Grant. Yes, in those far-off days elite restaurants didn't make a religion of keeping out the riff-raff and even I was permitted to dine, accompanied as all young gentlemen of 8 or 9 years of age were in those days, by my mother and a suitable number of adults.

I don't recall any complaints about the cuisine and I don't recall the presence of any celebrities at any of our visits. Mind you, there may have been. I wasn't as au courant in those days as I might have been. Hard to believe, I know, but there is a good chance I would've missed Frank Sinatra. On the other hand, I think I can affirm, under oath if need be, that neither Chucko the Clown, Sheriff John, Hopalong Cassidy, nor Roy Rogers were there.

It's been closed for regular operation since 1984 and it's been another 20 years since I was last confused by everything on the menu and ordered, to my very refined grandfather's dismay, a ham sandwich and a glass of milk. But it was nice to drive by and see it was still there, linens and silver and cut glass awaiting a return of elegance.