Limon bursts back onto the dining scene

Limon finally reopened a month ago after a fire. In the year and a half it took to rebuild, Peruvian cooking jumped out of neighborhoods onto The Embarcadero, where La Mar Cebicheria burst onto the scene. Straight from Lima, it brought the high-style, cutting-edge excitement of big-city Latin American restaurants to The City.

So it’s a good thing Limon has relaunched with a hot new look and an urban vibe. It still keeps one foot in the neighborhood with a communal table and plenty of first-come bar and counter seating, but a quieter mezzanine with lime-green leather banquettes and dark wood tables and chairs provides the comfort for a full evening of culinary entertainment.

The fun starts with dishes from the cebiche bar. In tres tiempos ($14), slices of ono, red snapper and ahi each get their own modulated, creamy-textured Peruvian salsas built with tropical fruits, Peruvian herbs and a spectrum of fresh and dried chilies. The pastel sauces support the delicate and elusive flavor of raw fish.

Atun al Tausi ($16) evokes filet of beef, each deep red slice of ahi coated around the edges with powdered fermented black beans, adding a truffle-like quality contrasted by a tart-sweet tamarind sauce.

Thick medallions of charcoal-grilled octopus ($12) have a wondrous texture, a standoff between tender and chewy that gives it the heft of meat. A sprightly salad of Incan quinoa ($8) is like a fine grained tabouli, except with avocado, olives, hearts of palm and a lively, fruity dressing. If you share cebiches and appetizers, not everyone at the table needs a main course, but don’t neglect them. They are some of the best dishes on the menu, especially a whole fried red snapper ($24). Mine the head for the best bits. Dip the fish into a velvety rocoto chili curry. A molded mound of coconut fried rice is so luscious, it may cause fights.

Lomo saltado ($21) also causes the normally generous to covet. Juicy fingers of sirloin are wok-tossed with strips of red onion, tomato and soy sauce, creating a smoky dark gravy, which also sauces a top knot of french fries wrapped in a fried plantain ribbon, Peruvian-Chinese-steak frites!

For dessert, choose lasana amazonica ($8), a delicate construct of caramelized paper-thin slices of pineapple layered with puffy guava cream, surrounded by strawberry sauce, crowned with spun, caramelized sugar.

I like a glass of versatile cava ($8), Spanish sparkling wine with the appetizers, and then a soft Argentinean pinot noir from Alfred Roca ($8/$30) with real pinot noir character for the entrees.

Patricia Unterman is author of the second edition of the “San Francisco Food Lovers’ Pocket Guide.” Contact her at pattiu@concentric.net.

 

Limon

Location: 524 Valencia St. (near 16th Street), San Francisco
Contact: (415) 252-0918
Hours: Dinner 5 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday
Price range: Cebiche and appetizers, $3 to $16; entrees $17 to $25
Recommended dishes: Tiradito tres tiempos; quinoa salad; grilled octopus; lomo saltado; whole crispy red snapper; lasana amazonica
Credit cards: All major
Reservations: Accepted

entertainmentFeaturesFood & DrinkFood and Wine

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The San Francisco International Arts Festival will present performances this weekend outdoors at Fort Mason, including on the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF International Arts Festival wins health department approval for weekend performances

Rules allow no more than 50 people at outdoor Fort Mason performances

A lab worker from the Medical Examiner’s Office was arrested with an evidence bag of methamphetamine in August. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Audit over lab worker meth arrest finds medical examiner is missing drugs

An audit of the Medical Examiner’s Office prompted by the arrest of… Continue reading

City officials argue that the dominance of a few third-party delivery services gives them disproportionate leverage against restaurants. (Courtesy photo)
Cap on food delivery app fees may remain until indoor dining allowed at full capacity

Proposal seen as financial relief for restaurants struggling in pandemic

A voting station will be open in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown from Oct. 31 until Nov. 3 to let residents drop off ballots and provide assistance to SRO residents. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown voting station to help SRO residents make their voices heard

In a bid to boost voting access for single-room-occupancy tenants in Chinatown,… Continue reading

Most Read