JT organized yet another holiday get together this time at the South Van Ness location of Limon Rotisserie, one of several in the City. I hope you all are enjoying the holidays! As the name implies, they proudly serve the official dish of Peru, Pollo ala brasa. The specialty of the house involves marinating free-range chickens, then roasting them over a rotating oven to form a crispy skin. You can sit at the bar and be mesmerized watching the chickens cooking in the main dining room. I believe the artwork on the back wall is a stylized version of the name, or perhaps the sangria affected my vision… it is sleek and modern nevertheless.
Our largish group of 15 (including kids) was seated down in the spacious downstairs dining area, with overhead lighting which added a garish red cast to the already dark lighting. That’s Sarah supervising the kids. We were also celebrating her birthday along with the holidays. Happy Birthday Sarah!
Rather than using the overbearing flash, I used the torch feature of my phone, which ended up looking like I used the flash; however, it really helped illuminate the dishes and counterbalanced that hideous red light… We began with an assortment from the small plates selections. Lomito Saltado ($9.75), is a traditional Peruvian dish of stir-fried beefy top sirloin strips, onions, tomato and soy sauce, mixed with FRIES. Now that was an interesting combination of cultures in a stir fry!
We had to order the Ceviche Mixto ($9.75), which was a combination of fish, calamari and shrimp bathed in a citrus marinade called leche de tigre or tiger’s milk. It was like poetry, the seafood was gorgeously fresh and served with a thick slice of sweet potato and a mound of choclo, which are a mutantly humongous variant of corn.
We ordered two plates of the Anticuchos de Res ($8.25) that I found irresistible. Skewers of tender and flavorful grilled beef heart coated with fresh herbs and spices were served over choclo and yucca. I just loved the texture and the flavor from the marinade of garlic, vinegar, cumin and aji panca chile peppers. I couldn’t stop reaching for more!
Chicharron de Pollo ($8.95), was a mound of crispy pieces of fried chicken that had been marinated in soy sauce, garlic and aji amarillo, and served with salsa criolla. This reminded me of Japanese karaage, the chicken flesh was savory and juicy and the accompanying salsa added an intensely flavorful sparkle from the fresh lime juice and herbs.
Seco de Costillas (8.95), braised boneless beef short ribs topped with huacatay and cilantro, served with potatoes carrots and english peas. The fork tender beef short ribs were slow cooked in an herbal huacatay-cilantro broth. Huacatay is a Peruvian herb that has an aroma that is a cross between mint and basil.
Strangely out of place, but popular with the kids was the Truffle Mac and Cheese ($5.95), creamy truffle infused macaroni and cheese. It reminded me of an alfredo pasta really, I would have liked it better if it had spent some time under the broiler to at least melt the cheese.
Empanadas ($7.75) crispy pastry dough filled with hand cut top sirloin, onions and finished with hard boiled eggs and raisins. I found this to be addictive, the tender buttery pastry dough surrounding the rich and flavorful meat filling, dunked in a rich spicy sauce.
For the main dishes we shared two of the famous rotisserie chickens, Pollo a la Brasa ($19,95 for a whole chicken with two sides and sauces). The semi-crisp skin was a delight to bite into, the flesh was tender and infused with smoky juices…
The chicken is served with two sides and three “Aji” sauces, which are aji amarillo, rocoto aji and chimichuri. The two on the left were spicy from chili peppers, made thick and creamy with cheese. Chimichuri on the far right is a sauce made from parsley, oil, vinegar and onion. They were good on everything from the chicken, antichuchos to the fries.
Yucca Fries ($3) were tender inside, like starchy mashed potato croquettes and quite delicious.
Vegetales Salteados ($3.25), someone always wants to order a healthy dish, and the sautéed vegetables with a savory soy based marinade fit the bill.
We consumed baskets of Sweet potato fries ($3.25) and regular fries, although I thought the Yucca Fries were the best.
We were quite stuffed but ordered the Chocolate Bandido ($7.25) for the birthday girl, a warm chocolate cake, with chocolate sauce and lucuma cream.
Unfortunately at this point of the meal, with a group of 15 sharing 3 desserts, I had lost my determination in documenting everything on the table and neglected my duties. We shared the profiteroles ($6.75), and the Panna Cotta Amazonica ($6.75) which was by far my favorite of the desserts sampled. Who can resist sweetened cooked cream topped with mango coulis… you’ll just have to take my word for it.