Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dish on Dining: Lime

A Party Where Food is an Accessory
2247 Market St., San Francisco
PH: 415.621.5256
Open for dinner daily, 5 p.m. to midnight (until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday); weekend brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Major credit cards, reservations accepted

Since this weekend is filled with Pride events (the massive parade is Sunday), I thought I’d spotlight a restaurant in San Francisco’s oldest gay neighborhood—the Castro.

The complaint is that there really is no destination restaurant in the Castro, just a few decent joints. No celebrity chef has found his or her way to the Castro (not even Lesbian favorite Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and the new Orson in SOMA).

So when my friend Angel from Chicago was coming into town and said he wanted to “party,” I had some difficulties thinking of the perfect spot. I eventually settled on Lime, a restaurant/lounge that opened four years ago on the edge of the neighborhood on Market Street.

I’ve never been to Lime, but every time I walked by it seemed to be a really funky chic bar with its Scandinavian-like décor and neon-color scheme. (What’s really odd is it’s called Lime but the predominant color is day-glo pink.) Last Friday night, I met Angel and his partner, Bob, who were already having a drink at the marbled bar.

If you recall, last week we had a heat wave in the city and Lime’s air-conditioning wasn’t working. (At least that’s what they said. For all we know, they could have just had it off to save on their energy bill.) So it felt like summer in New York, where people perspired in minimal attire with a cosmo always in hand.

For me, I settled for a white peach bellini, which is one of Lime’s signature drinks. It fell flat. The champagne tasted like the bottle had been opened for awhile and the peach puree was a bit too sweet. While at the bar, I noticed that a lot of people were ordering mojitos because they had enough mint to cover a whole parade float. (I exaggerate, but not really.)

I did enjoy the music pumped in by the DJ. They were all tunes that I recognized, unlike the pulsating techno-electronica crap that often fills the dance clubs. But because of the music, it made it difficult to hold a nice conversation without straining your vocal chords.

We moved to our table when our other friend George arrived. That’s when I started to look over the menu, which is an eclectic collection of small plates “meant to share,” our waitress informed us. The selection is grouped by price points, ranging from $5 to $13.

We ordered a bunch of stuff “to share” and here’s what came out: (BTW, the food came out pretty quickly after we ordered.)

Seasonal Salad ($5) with organic greens and seasonal peaches. It was very light and refreshing.

Tagarashi Fries ($5), shoestring fries tossed in a Japanese 7-spice chili pepper. As some of you know, I don’t like eating fried foods, but ordered this for the table because I knew others do. I did try a bit of it and it was really spicy. Not every piece was crispy, so I didn’t think it was very successful.

Fish Tacos ($9), cornmeal dusted mahi mahi with avocado, sour cream, tomato salsa sitting on mini tortillas. (The dish typically comes with three tacos but you can add a fourth at an additional cost.) I liked the fact that the fish wasn’t deep-fried like some other fish tacos and it had a very light twang of acidity to balance the fish.

Tuna Poke ($12), the diced ahi tuna served raw with cucumber and avocado and won ton chips. The won ton chips were too small to really pick up the tuna cubes, so I ended up just using a fork to eat the Tuna Poke and crunching on the chips as a side.

Baby Back Pork Ribs ($13) was this beautiful tray of barbeque ribs with a side of cole slaw. The meat easily came off the bone and the flavor was solid and not too spicy. I liked it.

Mini Burgers ($9) (again, we added a fourth because it usually comes in three), burgers covered with white cheddar and served with special sauce and pickles. It was cute and the meat was nicely cooked, but the white cheddar was odd. It melted in an odd way like it was stretched cotton on the burgers instead of cheese. It didn’t seem to add to the flavor and it may have been more inventive to use another type of cheese.

Ricotta Gnocchi ($8) with shitake mushrooms, thyme and parmesan cheese. The gnocchi came out looking slightly burnt and the mushrooms had a slight rubbery texture. It was interesting but not necessarily a favorite.

Pork Quesadilla ($8), braised pork in a mole sauce with mango salsa. This was fresh and easy to eat, but nothing really special.

Pan-Seared Salmon ($10) served with a big glop of barbeque sauce on a bed of greens. The salmon was tender but seemed a bit overpowered by the sauce. And I didn’t feel the bed of greens really complimented the salmon, other than to just dress the plate.

We ended with two desserts: a tray of mini red velvet cupcakes and a coffee-flavored crème brulee. The mini cupcakes were cute, of course, and had a good taste and texture. But the crème brulee was a bit off with the coffee flavor, and the sugary top shell wasn’t as crispy.

Angel thought everything was good, but both he and George (who he knows from Chicago) felt we could have gotten something better in Chicago. Even though I haven’t eaten at a lot of places in Chicago, I would tend to agree. While the food at Lime is solid, it wasn’t necessarily creative or offered any new tastes.

What really seems popular at Lime, which isn’t on the menu, is the parade of beautiful people who come to the bar for some S&M action (stand & model). Yes, we were in the Castro so there were a lot of men, but Lime also seems to attract a mixed crowd, some coming from outside of the city.

Lime definitely delivered the party atmosphere for our Friday night, but the food was not the star attraction. It’s good for some lounge bites, but more for the people-watching.

Single guy rating: 2.75 stars (predictably solid)

Explanation of the single guy's rating system:
1 star = perfect for college students
2 stars = perfect for new diners
3 stars = perfect for foodies
4 stars = perfect for expense accounts
5 stars = perfect for any guy's dream dinner

Lime on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, that salmon looks like a little suckling pig laying in a bed of greens... it's amazing that there so many restaurants in the Castro and very few that serve really good food. I guess people are more into the S&M than they are the food!

Anonymous said...

Ohmygawd, mini red velvet cupcakes? They look like the cutest thing ever! They have mini calories, too, right?

agent713 said...

The pink hue on all the pictures is a bit odd. LOL

I agree though. The cupcakes are cute.