I want to start this review out with an apology. Two apologies, actually.
The first is to the owners of the restaurant Limón because I had every intention of writing about the opening of their second Fresno location at Marks and Herndon when the restaurant opened many months ago. I wanted to make sure I got a good chance to try the food, though, and you know how life is. (Busy and terrible.)
The second apology is to the people of Fresno. You deserved to know how good Limón is a long time ago.
What Does a Peruvian Restaurant Serve Exactly?
Limón is an upscale Peruvian infusion restaurant, which means the menu consists of Latin-infused dishes with influences of India, China, and Japan. You’ll see some popular Peruvian coastal cuisine on the menu, such as various kinds of ceviche (a popular hangover cure in Peru) and chupe de camarones (a type of shrimp chowder), as well as a selection of empanadas and saltados, which are, at their core, a type of stir fry (but much better; I’ll explain why).
You’ll also find what’s essentially a familiar steakhouse-type menu (chops, rib-eye, chicken, lamb shank, beef short rib, seafood) but with unique flavors, sauces, and sides added. The names may not sound familiar to you, but the set-up is essentially the same — protein, starch, vegetable. All of this with the volume turned up, as my girl Ina Garten likes to say.
What I Ordered: Trip 1
On my first trip to Limón (because I went twice, just to make sure I totally got the gist), I ordered the Churrasco a la Parrilla, which is a grilled rib-eye steak with a cabernet demi-glaze and chimichurri — a popular South American sauce often served over grilled meat that’s made of herbs, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. The steak was served with vegetables and roasted potatoes.
The vegetables and potatoes were good and the rib-eye was nicely cooked, but what really made this dish shine was the cabernet demi-glaze. You know how on Food Network they’re always talking about depth of flavor and you’re like, “What does that even mean?” One taste of this thick, rich sauce and you’ll understand it immediately.
Also on this first trip, I was privileged to try the Chupe de Camarones, which is basically heaven in a bowl. As mentioned above, this is a shrimp chowder consisting of shrimp, saffron rice, diced potatoes, fish fumet (basically fish stock), peas, and — the best thing ever — a fried egg.
You guys. YOU GUYS.
It was really amazing. The color was gorgeous, the egg was perfect, and just everything was great. Highly recommend this dish.
Sidenote: Unlike the Friant location, the Marks and Herndon location is open for lunch throughout the week. The lunch menu differs slightly from the dinner menu. (Hours posted below.) You can get both of the dishes mentioned above during lunch and dinner.
What to Drink at Limón
It’s here I should mention Limón has a full bar serving wine, beer, and specialty drinks. The specialty drink menu is, as to be expected, much more interesting than many restaurants’ and while I fully intend to make my way down the list eventually, both times I was at Limón, I ordered the same thing: the Pisco Sour.
The Pisco Sour is made with Pisco Quebranta, lime juice, syrup, and egg white, and garnished with cinnamon. You might be wondering two things right now: 1. What is Pisco Quebranta, and 2. Egg white? Seriously?
First, Pisco Quebranta is a type of brandy that is produced in Peru, and only Peru. In fact, pisco itself is only made in two countries in the world — Peru and Chile.
Second, yes, egg white, seriously. Egg white is a pretty traditional cocktail ingredient, and though it doesn’t add anything in flavor, it adds a lot in texture. It gives cocktails a frothy cap, kind of like the foam on a latte. Look at that gorgeous drink above. Try it. You’ll love it.
What I Ordered: Trip 2
On my second trip to Limón, I decided to keep it a bit lighter — kinda. I ordered the Scallops off the appetizer menu, and the Lomo Saltado. And of course a Pisco Sour because: duh.
The scallops dish was five or six scallops on a bed of sauteéd spinach with garlic, capers, and mushrooms. Now here’s where I prove that Limón isn’t paying me to write this post: I did not like the scallops. The spinach bed was good, but the scallops themselves were hard and rubbery, not buttery and light like scallops should be. I honestly wouldn’t order this dish again.
But. The Lomo Saltado was a completely different story. I had never tasted, let alone heard of, saltado before I tried it, and I’m telling you right now: I would eat this dish every week if I could.
I mentioned above that saltado is a type of stir fry. Limón serves saltados with various proteins (beef, shrimp, chicken) and one that is all vegetables. The one I ordered, the traditional Lomo Saltado, was top sirloin served in soy sauce with onions and tomato on a bed of rice and french fries. French fries. This right here is what puts Lomo Saltado above other stir fries.
I can’t talk up this dish enough. It truly is a salt lover’s dream. I made sure to get every element in each biteful and man, it was so, so good. If you only order one thing at Limón, it should be this.
Locations: As noted, this is Limón’s second location. The first is at Friant and Fort Washington, and it’s open for dinner Monday-Thursday from 4-9 p.m. and weekends for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Contact: (559) 435-1015.
The Marks and Herndon location is open for lunch Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner 4-9:00 p.m. Contact: (559) 447-1226.
There is an outside seating area here, and though it looks suspiciously like you’re dining in the middle of a shopping center parking lot (which you are), I can assure you it’s actually nice and kind of quiet out there. The black umbrella does draw in heat, though, so you might want to eat inside during the hot summer months.
Happy Hour: The Marks and Herndon location offers Happy Hour deals from 4-6 p.m. Tues-Thurs, and from 4-closing Friday and Saturday. On Thursdays from 4-6, you can get $2 off Pisco Sours, so make note.
Dessert: I didn’t order from it, but Limón has a dessert menu. It looks like this: