What most people seem to know about Perennials Restaurant is that it’s owned by the parents of Albuquerque’s own Neil Patrick Harris, a 1991 graduate of La Cueva High School, who at age sixteen, landed the lead role in Doogie Howser, M.D. The television series about a teen prodigy doctor propelled him into teen heartthrob status.
After two visits to Perennials, I’m somewhat surprised that this bright, east-facing restaurant isn’t even better known for the terrific quality of its food. It seems to be especially popular for breakfast among the geriatric set, a demographic my stand-up comedian friend swears have two criteria for selecting a restaurant: tasteless or cheap. He also observes that among the “blue-hairs” as he calls them, women dining with their friends will figure out each person’s share to the penny while elderly gentlemen breaking bread with their friends practically come to blows over who will pay the bill of fare.
I didn’t notice any bill settlement issues at Perennials and contrary to my friend’s theory regarding restaurants heavily patronized by retirees, the food is definitely not tasteless or cheap. Reasonably priced food of high quality and generous portions would be more like it. It’s easy to see why Perennials is popular among sagacious senior citizens (my own advancing geriatric progression will hopefully make me more erudite, too).
Perennials blossomed into existence in October, 2000 in the Fiesta Del Norte Shopping Center. Its focus six days a week has been primarily breakfast and lunch, although it experimented with dinner for several months in 2005. Specialties include Angus hamburgers, homemade soups, salads, New Mexican entrees, grilled sandwiches and some of the most consistently good breakfast entrees in the Duke City.
When Perennials first launched, the menu included items heretofore unseen at any other Albuquerque dining establishment. Our early favorite were the rarebit potatoes, roasted potatoes tossed with sundry ingredients. The Portales Rarebit, for example, featured roast beef, red chile, sautéed onions, shredded cheddar and sour cream. We were disappointed not to see rarebit on the menu and hope the next time we see it won’t be on Gomer Pyle reruns.
You can’t go wrong with good pancakes and Perennials’ are light, fluffy and delicious six-inch orbs. Two can split a short stack and order something additional such as a breakfast burrito (available in a 12″ size or 7″ for smaller appetites). The burrito is generously endowed with scrambled eggs and your choice of ham, bacon or sausage then topped with either red or green chile. The green chile is more akin to a salsa than to the saucy chile typically served on breakfast burritos throughout Albuquerque.
It’s admirable that Perennials doesn’t capitalize on the fame of its most famous family member whose image is conspicuously absent in the pleasant country dining room. That’s probably because the food is attraction enough.
6601 San Mateo, N.E.
LATEST VISIT: 8 December 2005
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Rarebit, Pancakes, Breakfast Burritos