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SF's Limón opening Fresno location

This is more for the out of towners, not the Fresno crowd that may already know.

A Fresno location of San Francisco's Limón opens next week (Dec 27th), just in time for a post holiday alternative to turkey. Limón typically makes the SF Chronicle's annual Top 100 list.

The Fresno restaurant will be in the RiverPark area on Blackstone.

Joan Obra's column this morning explains the plans, saying that there are family members in the Fresno area. Ana Castillo, the Limón owners' (Martin and Eduardo) sister, already lives here.

Luz Trigoso, Martin and Eduardo Castillo's mother, will run the Fresno location. So the source of the family's recipes will be here.

Additionally Eduardo Castillo will move to Fresno from the Bay Area.

So more of the Bay Area's best recipes will join the Fresno scene. First Chef Liu at Hunan, now the Castillo family.

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  1. It's about time we got some good news - !Si (Li)mon.

    1. That's super, thanks for the word! Various restaurant trends forecasts for the coming year have id'd Peruvian as up and coming. So I'm glad that Fresno is getting one of the top names. It will be interesting to see if the mom leans more traditional in her menu selection. Please do keep us posted on how you like it.

      El Paso St and Blackstone Ave, Fresno, CA

      1. I am highly anticipating this restaurant!! My S-n-law from SF says the original restaurant is one of her favorites, and misses its presense due to the fire. Great to hear of such a new and exciting cuisine to be offered in Fresno.

        1. Joan Obra reported in yesterday's "7" section of the Bee that Jose Romani has taken over the Express Grill (SW Shaw & Blackstone) and added Peruvian and Italian dishes to the menu. Peruvian dishes, offered now just on Saturdays, include aji de pollo (saucy potatoes and chicken served with white rice), antichuchos (marinated grilled beef), papas rellenas (fried potato balls stuffed with vegies and beef), and ceviche Peruano (raw seafood salad).

          Joan also noted that the Italian portion will come from his sister's place, Goodfellas, in the Galleria downtown.

          Express Grill
          (559) 227-7007

          1. Today's the opening of Limon-Fresno, unfortunately I can't get there for a few days. :(

            But here is a little trivia in honor of Limon's Fresno opening.

            Martin Castillo of Limon was named a 2003 Rising Star Chef by the San Francisco Chronicle.

            Another 2003 Rising Star Chef was Malachi Harland. Malachi was at XYZ in SF at the time. He later left there to open The Chef's Table in Fresno.

            So 2 of the 6 people on the Chron's 2003 list of up and coming chefs now have places in Fresno.

            1. So, as a penance for my absence on the boards as of late, I "forced" hubby to go to Limon tonight for dinner and am dutifully reporting back to the hounds. If you don't want to read the whole report, let me just say that you should go there as soon as you can! It is wonderful to be able to have such a unique choice here in the Valley. We were there on opening night and I always steel myself for the inevitable problems that arise from visiting a restaurant before the kinks are worked out. However, our dinner was pleasant with only one small kink of the wrong dessert placed on our bill. Everything else from the check-in with the hostess, to the paying of the bill, went flawlessly.

              We arrived at Limon a little after 8pm and the place was pretty full, but without reservations we were able to squeeze into a two-top against the wall. Not the best seat, but not horrible, either. I would probably recommend reservations for the future.

              The space seems a little sparse, but with clean and modern lines and a nice use of color. All of the staff were very happy to see us and made us feel very welcome. Our server took the time to explain several of the dishes to us and answered our questions with no problem. We ordered home made lemonade as they don't have their liquor license, yet. They expect to be able to serve alcohol sometime between the 5th and 10th of the new year. The lemonade was good and complemented the dishes quite well.

              All the dishes sounded great on the menu and the hardest part was picking what we wanted to try. Our server said that they encourage sharing plates and so we decided to order the appetizer of tartara de atun (diced yellowfin ahi tuna, asian pears, red bell peppers, and rocoto sesame oil, served with ahi amarillo aioli), the ceviche limon (fresh halibut with mixed seafood marinated in rocoto and lime juice, served with yam and Peruvian corn), and the saltado de pollo (sliced chicken breast sauteed with onions, tomatoes, and fries, served with a side of rice).

              The ceviche and the tartara came out together and they were both excellent. The fish for both of these dishes was extremely fresh and very tasty. I am very picky about seafood and I was blown away by how fresh everything tasted. The ceviche was stacked in the middle of the plate with the halibut and calamari on the bottom and then the shrimp and octopus on top. The plate was finished with slices of raw onion and a scoop of yam and then two kinds of Peruvian corn, which our server said was imported. One type of corn is called choclo, and they are pale yellow kernels that are huge! They tasted kind of like a cross between corn and hominy. The other type of corn was cancha, and it was the same kind of corn as the choclo, but had been fried. It ended up tasting nutty and with the consistency of pumpkin seeds. Both balanced out the acid of the ceviche quite well. The yam also helped offset the acidity. The seafood on this dish was amazing with a slight pepper taste from the rocoto, but mostly you tasted the lime and the briny-ness of the seafood. Very delicious and totally worth ordering again!

              The tartara de atun consisted of the diced tuna and the accompanying veggies/fruit were also diced as well and served alongside toast points and with a garnish of shaved green onion. I love tuna and this tuna had the perfect balance of flavors with the meatiness of the tuna complemented by the sweet crispness of the asian pears and the slight bite of the red bell peppers. The sesame oil that had been flavored with the rocoto brought a slight heat, but nothing very hot. A well balanced dish that allowed the flavor of the tuna to really shine. It is worth ordering, especially if you like tuna.

              The saltado de pollo was next and our server had described it like Peruvian flavors done in an Asian style since the dish was cooked in a wok over high heat. It was kind of like a stir fry, but the flavors were different than an ordinary stir fry. The french fries had been cooked prior to the stir fry, but the time in the wok had really crisped the outside of the potato. The chicken was also a little crispy on the edges and the veggies had a slight char to them. That made it quite delicious! There was a sauce which tasted like soy and citrus with perhaps some wine. A very homey dish that you could imagine took its inspiration from something your grandma might make, but then taken to the next level. The rice served alongside was done perfectly. So many places make rice that is either too sticky and wet or so dry it is begging for some water.

              To finish, hubby and a split an ice cream made with lucuma, a Peruvian fruit. The ice creams are made in house and we wanted to try this flavor. Our server said it had the consistency of green tea ice cream, which has a granular texture. At first, I wasn't sure about the texture, but it grew on me the more I ate and by the end hubby and I were scraping the dish clean. The best way I can describe the flavor is a perfumed caramel taste that is subtle and sweet. It was a very nice ending to the meal.

              The bill was $45 for the appetizer, ceviche, and entrée plus two lemonades. Very reasonable for the quality of the seafood and portion size. The appetizers range from $5.25 for the soup of the day, up to $9.25 for the picante de mariscos (braised shrimp, calamari, mussels, and clams with diced potatoes in a Peruvian adresso cream sauce). The ceviches range from $8.25 for the tartara criolla (Peruvian style tartara seafood, topped with chopped onion, tomato, lime juice and Peruvian corn) to $12.75 for the ceviche de pescado (fresh halibut marinated in rocoto and lime juice, served with yam and Peruvian corn). The entrees range from $9.75 for the plato vegetariano (risotto served with seasonal veggies, English peas and aji Amarillo tomato nage) to $17.75 for the churrasco a la parrilla (12 oz. ribeye steak, grilled, served with cabernet sauce, roasted potatoes and chimichurri).

              Hubby and I look forward to returning soon and sampling several other dishes. We have our eyes on the empanada don walter ( pastry filled with sautéed beef, olives, onions, eggs, raisins and served with rocoto cream sauce), chicharron de pollo (marinated crispy chicken pieces, served with salsa crioll and lime vinaigrette), any of the ceviches, the chuleton carlitos (pan-roasted 12 oz pork chop over bacon-cabbage hash and mushroom ragu), and the sole en salsa de mariscos (pan-seared fresh petrole sole served over a bed of seafood and tomato panca sauce).

              7735 N Blackstone Ave
              Fresno, CA 93720

              Note: when they obtain their liquor license the corkage will be $15 per bottle, maximum of 2 bottles

              2 Replies
              1. re: glazebrookgirl

                Its mid-morning as I read this and you've made me mouth-watering hungry just reading!! Have to try it myself soon.

                Thanks for a great report.

                1. re: glazebrookgirl

                  Wonderful report! I am amazed that you braved the opening night craziness, but it seems like it payed off ten-fold!! I think I'm going to wait for the liquor license to kick in, my s-n-law said the Pisco Sours are fantastic.

                2. Sorry, I'm a little late in posting this. Had lunch at Limon 4 days after they opened, and was very pleased with the remodel from the old Masala place. Walls were painted a muted maroon and green, and the kitchen area is viewable through glass partitions. Wait staff was very friendly and they seemed to have it together for a startup. On my waiter's recommendation, I tried the Sopa del Dia, potato and bacon soup 5.25, followed by the Lomo Saltado 12.75. This is a traditional Peruvian preparation of sauteed Top Sirloin with onions, tomatoes and fries (this worked well by the way), served with steamed long grain rice. Very clean flavors and satisfying portions. Nothing to distinguish it though from Mexican preparations I have had before. This was a decent meal for a quiet dinner, but I felt it was a little pricey for a regular lunch in a mall setting.

                  Other main dishes on the menu ranged from a Plato Vegetariano 9.75 to Pollo Latino, pan roasted chicken breast with truffle infused mac and cheese 14.75, to a 12 ounce ribeye steak grilled with a cabernet sauce, 17.75.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: fresnohotspot

                    fresnohotspot, could you say a little more about what you mean by "Nothing to distinguish it though from Mexican preparations I have had before"? Are you saying that you've had food like this at Mexican restaurants elsewhere? Or am I missing your point?

                    1. re: alanstotle

                      I don't want it to come off sounding derogatory, because I liked the food. The potato soup was particularly luxurious. There was just nothing to distinguish the dishes from similar meals I have had at good Mexican restaurants, nothing distinctly Peruvian. Then again, I haven't worked my way through the menu so I am going to try this place again.

                      1. re: fresnohotspot

                        Thanks for your answer. I didn't mean to sound accusatory if that's the way my question came across.

                        More than anything I just wanted to make sure I was reading the tone of your post correctly. I got the impression--in part by your comparison to Mexican restaurants--that you liked the place but that you weren't necessarily wowwed by it & your answer confirmed that.

                        I think we'll be going back for dinner soon so we'll be sure to update our report.

                  2. I ate here for lunch on Tuesday.
                    Our meal was excellent.
                    I ordered the mixed Ceviche, and chicken saltado.
                    The food tasted fresh and everything was well executed.
                    I also thought the prices were reasonable given the quality.
                    I wish them all the best for this area.
                    Ironically the place was DEAD for lunch, but the server said they do a good dinner business.
                    I will definitely go back.

                    1. Tried the Peruvian ribs app (7.25) and the side of truffled mac 'n cheese (4) for lunch today along with a glass of Carmenere (6). Pretty tasty, four very meaty ribs with a little slaw on top, generous portion of the mac 'n cheese, enough for 2-4 people depending on many other dishes you might order. Definitely plan on going back for dinner to try the ceviche mixta. The lovely Ana
                      told me they will be serving the rotisserie chicken very soon.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: PolarBear

                          Just a quick note, hubby and I were there for dinner last night and our server Claudia said the rotisserie was supposed to be delivered this weekend and that they should be serving the rotisseries chicken next week. Yum!

                          P.S. Our dinner was delicious, report to follow...

                        2. Report of our dinner about a week ago.

                          Chicha Morado ($2)—non-alcoholic. A refreshing steeped beverage, color & flavor somewhat like jamaica, though with a slight “heaviness” implied by cinnamon. Didn’t take long before this beverage started getting addictive.

                          Machupisco ($7)—a pisco cocktail. Not a heavy-duty cocktail but sweet & very tropical (like a piña colada). Pisco didn’t taste harsh.

                          Ensalada de Atun ($8.25)—beautiful piece of tuna, seared on the outside, then cut into large cubes; coated in a spicy, salty rub; placed on a slice of cucumber & served with a “Peruvian black bean” sauce on top; fairly large helping of dressed, mixed greens. One of my favorites: tuna was very meaty, like beef (tuna usually is but this was even more so). Overall I’d describe this dish as robust: a little bitterness (esp. in the greens), tangy (in the dressing), salty, meaty, rich spiciness, rich flavors in the sauce. Like the greens, the cucumber added a wonderful lightness that complemented the robustness of the fish.

                          Papa Huancaina ($6.25)—sliced potatoes, half of a hard-cooked egg, black olives, yellow sauce, served warm. Potato was cooked very well (soft but still firm enough to hold its shape); yellow sauce was pretty generic; egg & olives seemed more like garnish than actually part of the dish; the spuds, egg, black olive & yellow sauce made this dish more like a warm, deconstructed, potato salad. Our guess is that this is usually considered comfort food in Peru. Not bad tasting but not exciting at all; would not order again (esp. when there’s so much better food to eat).

                          Empanada Don Walter ($7.25)—ground beef, hard-cooked egg, onion, olive & raisins in a deep-fried half-moon pastry; served with lime wedges & rocoto cream sauce. Filling was very moist (almost like a stew), rich, well-spiced & flavorful, no big chunks of any ingredient but finely chopped. Pastry shell was crisp with lots of blisters, giving it a lightness but at the same time it was thick enough to hold the filling without bursting & also nicely chewy in an “al dente” sort of way. Lime juice spritzed inside gave it brightness; rocoto cream sauce added creaminess. One of the best empanadas I’ve had; I’m interested in trying other empanadas at their restaurants in San Francisco.

                          Ceviche de Pescado ($12.75)—large-diced halibut ceviche, topped with red onion slivers, served with yam & Peruvian corn. Very fresh-tasting fish. My other favorite dish of the night; very nice counterpoint to the ensalada de atun: a very light, citrusy way to eat fish that is the complete opposite of the robustness of the ensalada de atun.

                          Truffled “Mac & Cheese” ($4)—made with mascarpone. Light & creamy, pasta cooked very well, truffle flavor was not overbearing.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: alanstotle

                            Nice report! I've had papa huancaina at about five or so different restaurants and I've come to the same conclusion you've reached. Not at all interesting to me, but it seems to strike deep in the Peruvian soul because waitstaff keep recommending it. I've learned to say "no".

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              The other night I had dinner there again. At one point I glanced at the table next to us & there it was: the whole table, everyone eating a papa huancaina!

                          2. So excited to hear about this place. I forgot how much I missed Peruvian food until I read all your reviews. Can't wait!

                            1. Report of another good dinner at Limón the other night. Dimsumgirl, this is your amuse-expectativa.

                              Started with drinks: gbg ordered her now-favorite Chichi Morada (described in a previous report) & I had a Fresno Pisco—a pisco version of a screwdriver: pisco with orange juice. This was a more serious cocktail than the poofy, tropical one I enjoyed on our last visit. Here the pisco had a more pronounced flavor, almost like an orzo.

                              We came to try their new rotisserie chicken but they were out by the time we got there (we had a 7:30 reservation). The lesson we learned is to show up earlier—lunch or an early dinner—if we want the chicken. So instead we shared two smaller plates, an entrée & dessert.

                              Sopa del Dia ($5.50)—this day it was green bell pepper, tomato, chicken, & queso fresco. Nice, robust, salty flavor, pleasant thick pureed texture, small strips of chicken, not too tomatoey or too bell-peppery. Maybe not the greatest soup I’ve ever tasted but solid; I’d definitely order it again & I’d be happy if I could eat or make soup like this on a regular basis.

                              Ceviche de Pescado—one of our favorites & described in a previous report.

                              Pollo Latino ($15.75)—I guess this was our substitute for the missing rotisserie chicken. Pan-roasted chicken breast (boneless except for a small wing-like piece that added some topography to the breast), with a Dijon mustard sauce & served on a bed of truffled mac & cheese. The skin on the chicken was really thin but also super crispy; imagine a chicken mini-chicharron with a nice chicken breast inside—a pleasant textural surprise. Dijon sauce was nicely flavored with mustard but not too strong (gbg, who doesn’t care much for mustard, enjoyed this sauce); tasted really good when the sauce mixed into the mac & cheese.

                              Chirimoya Ice Cream ($5.25)—this appears to be the Spanish spelling of this fruit. Subtle flavor; sweet & slightly tropical in nature; has the color of coconut ice cream but definitely tastes like cherimoya. We enjoyed it but not as much as our other dessert.

                              Budin Durazno ($6.50)—peach bread pudding with caramel sauce. Dense (like bread pudding should be) but finely textured & smooth. Peach & caramel flavors are definitely present but not overpowering. And did I mention the texture? Very consistent; no lumpy pieces of bread like when I make it at home; texture was somewhere between a cake & a pudding. I think we still prefer Vatche’s bread pudding over at Cracked Pepper Bistro, but this stuff comes in a very close & respectful second place.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: alanstotle

                                Silly me. Let me correct myself.

                                Surely I did not mean, in the 2nd paragraph, that the pisco tasted like orzo. That would be rather remarkable.

                                What I meant to say is that the pisco tasted a little bit like grappa.

                                Orzo. Grappa. Not sure how I got those two mixed up in my brain.

                                1. re: alanstotle

                                  Thank you, Alanstotle for the amuse! Alanstotle and Glazebrookgirl met me for dinner at Limon. What a fantastic meal. The staff were so friendly and accomodating and the food was fresh, fresh, fresh! I'll let alanstotle and glazebrookgirl describe our meal to you as their descripions are so vivid that you can almost taste the food when they give the details. I was so impressed with everything that we enjoyed. and with the fantastic service. The meal was unbelievably reasonable, too.

                                  1. re: dimsumgirl

                                    We want to add to the chorus of reviewers who are singing the praises of Limon. We went there on a Saturday afternoon around 2 p.m. While the place was deserted (with the exception of another family of four), the wait staff and the cooks didn’t let the lack of customers impact their standards. Instead, we found the food to be exceptionally well-prepared and well-presented.

                                    We started with the Empanada Don Walter ($7.25). The two empanadas we ate were absolutely heavenly. Filled with sirloin steak, onions, olives, raisins, and hard boiled egg (we couldn’t even tell that the last three ingredients were in the mix) and encased in a perfectly flaky crust that wasn’t greasy, the empanadas were perfectly accented with a roasted pepper cream sauce. They were a great start to the meal.

                                    Our waitress then brought out our main courses. Based on the reviews from other Chowhounds, two of us ordered the Pollo Latino ($15.75) and one of us had the Churrasco a La Parrilla ($18.75). Of course, being the picky eaters we are, we had to request changes to the dishes. The Pollo Latino normally comes lightly covered with a Dijon mustard sauce, which one of us ordered on the side. The Churrasco a La Parilla did not come with onions. But, we requested that we’d have grilled onions on the side to complement this dish. Both of these modifications were accommodated with no problem.

                                    The Pollo Latino was delicious. The chicken breast, which was served on the bone, was tender and moist. The Dijon sauce didn’t overpower the chicken, but instead complimented it nicely. The dish was served with a truffle oil infused macaroni and cheese. We didn’t really taste the truffle oil (a good sign that there wasn’t too much in the dish). But, we did enjoy the abundance of thyme that we found. Overall, the macaroni and cheese was also an excellent compliment to the chicken.

                                    As good as the chicken was, the Churrasco a La Parrilla was even better. The 12 oz. ribeye steak (which was the dish’s centerpiece) was cooked to perfection. The cabernet sauce and the chimichurri put on the side brought out wonderful flavor in the steak. Once we added the grilled onions and the roasted potatoes to the steak, we knew we were in the presence of great cooking.

                                    We don’t usually get dessert. But, because the appetizer and entrees were so good, we thought we’d splurge and try dessert. Again, based on the reviews of fellow Chowhounds, we chose the coffee crème brulee. It wasn’t the best crème brulee we’ve ever eaten…but, it was still very, very good. Our only complaint was that there wasn’t enough fruit on the top of the dessert. We had only lonely blackberry topping our crème brulee, which made a delicious counterpoint to the slight bitterness of the coffee. While we know berries aren’t in season, we figured that if they could put one on the crème brulee, they could’ve added two more. Still, the crème brulee without the berries was delicious.

                                    We also found the service to be superb, mainly because we had the uber-proficient Raina as our waitress (she’s also been mentioned on this board). She was extremely knowledgeable about the dishes, and was more than willing to share that knowledge with us. She was also extremely attentive to our requests, although that may have been a function of the lack of customers in the restaurant. Still, we found the service to be top notch, regardless of the lack of competition.

                                    While we enjoyed having the restaurant to ourselves, we did leave Limon worried that, given their hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and their higher-than-average prices for lunch, they may not be able to stay open in this troubled economy. Still, our concerns for the future didn’t diminish our enjoyment of the present. Limon is a great addition to the Fresno dining scene. If they can survive the current weak economy, they should have a long stay in Fresno.

                                    1. re: Lunch Critics

                                      Great review, LC. I was rushed when I posted that I had eaten at Limon last week in the company of two dear friends and fellow hounds.

                                      We started our meal off with an order of the Ceviche Limon and the Ensalada de Atun. Both were excellent. The ceviche showed off the freshness of the seafood and the ensalada de atun was lovely in its presentation and the flavor.

                                      We shared an order of the Sopa de Dia which our server so graciously had divided into three portions so that we could each enjoy our own little bowl. The soup that day was a chicken soup with some pasta-- I think it was linguine. It was tasty but probably the least spectacular of the items that we ordered. We ordered teh Churassco a La Parilla and a half of the Pollo a la Brasa. The ribeye steak was cooked as we ordered it. along with three spears of asparagus One of my dining companions thought the meat was a little tough but I personally had no complaints. The cabernet sauce and the chimichurri were delightful flavor accents to the mat. The rotisserie cooked chicken was so tasty and had just the right amount of char on the skin. It was served with french fries and baby greens.

                                      We ordered two desserts to share. We had the coffee creme brulee and the buden duazno, a peach pound cake. Service was excellent from start to finish and I thought the price was reasonable for the quality of the food.

                                      I intended to go back to pick up some food to take back home with me but my meeting went later than I expected and traffic was heavier than I had anticipated so I had to leave town without getting back to Limon. I am looking forward to my next opportunity to visit Limon again in Fresno.

                                      1. re: dimsumgirl

                                        Thanks for posting these comments, dsg. I’ve been slow to get my notes from this dinner posted. Here are my additions.

                                        We started with a glass of sangria. Limón’s sangria it a rich mixture of alcohol & juice with small-diced apple (?) & citrus peel. It seemed to be a bit on the sweet side & had a richness like the chichi morada. This was not a thirst-quenching sangria but a drink to accompany heavier foods.

                                        I agree with your opinion of the chicken-linguini soup: it was good but was not spectacular; I’d probably skip ordering this again. I thought the squeeze of lime was a refreshing touch to the soup.

                                        I liked our steak entrée but I’d be hesitant to order it again when the chicken & other entrees are so good. We ordered the steak medium rare & it was prepared that way. The cabernet sauce was quite good. Even though I thought the chimichurri was a bit heavy on the garlic, I thought it, the cabernet sauce & the flavor of the meat went well together. Although I thought the meat was a little bit tough it was not terribly so. I was less impressed with the roasted potatoes; they tasted fine to me (I love potatoes, after all) but they seemed a bit throw-away to me.

                                        Agree with your comments about the rotisserie chicken: good flavor & good moistness. Our other dining companion, gbg, loved the fries that accompanied the chicken. I was rather taken by the small bowl of salad greens; I delighted in the wonderfully acidic & slightly sweet dressing.

                                        I’ll just add a note about the availability of the rotisserie chicken: in the past I’ve mentioned that we arrived at 7:30 & the chicken was out. This particular evening we arrived at 5:30 & there was only half of a chicken left. The rotisserie chicken is not on the dinner menu, so I guess I should stop expecting to find it available during the dinner hour!

                                        Of the two desserts, I think the buden duazno (peach bread pudding) was by far the better. The crème brulee was fine (I especially liked the espresso flavor; it was a nice way to have a “cup of coffee” without having a cup of coffee). But the crème brulee was kind of flat or one-note in comparison to the bread pudding.

                                        1. re: alanstotle

                                          Like gbg, I loved the fries. How could one not like fries? The baby greens were wonderful Yes, the rotisserie chicken's limited availabilty was a surprise. After all, we were the second party in the place and they had prepared two whole chickens but our waiter said that one and a half chickens had already been promised to a take-out order so we were lucky to get the half chicken that we got. As it was, it was just the right amount. And I agree that eh bread pudding was the stand-out dessert. I can't wait to return to Limon!

                                2. Lemóns Peruvian Restaurant is “eyes rolling in the back of the head” ambrosia. It is located a couple of doors down from Hooters and a world away in culture and cuisine. My husband and I have enjoyed dining at Lemóns in San Francisco and were pleasantly surprised to see them open a restaurant in Fresno.

                                  Our server Raina, new to Peruvian cuisine, was amazingly informed on all the Peruvian dishes and Cocktails that Lemón has to offer. She started us off with a Pisco Sour that was Peruvian perfection in a glass. With a dozen appetizers to chose from, Raina suggested the Costillas a la Barbacoa, Peruvian BBQ spareribs seasoned with aji Amarillo that will knock your socks off. The meat was so flavorful and tender, hands down the best ribs this side of Memphis.

                                  My hubby selected the Saltado de Pollo, Peruvian comfort food at it’s finest. The chicken, onions, tomatoes and fries had my husband’s fork working overtime. Raina was kind enough to select my entrée because I just could decide from all the wonderful choices. She brought a fillet of Sole in a yummy aji sauce, plated with spinach and soft potato medallions. If I was home, I honestly would have licked the plate, it was that good.

                                  During this time we had full view of every dish passing from the chef to the servers, which caused us to do something we never do, order another appetizer while still working on our entrees. OMG I am so glad we did, the Antichuchos de Carne at Lemón are unbelievable. Grilled marinated beef skewers with wickedly awesome Peruvian spices and a green dipping sauce that really will have your eyes rolling in the back of your head.

                                  Raina kept the party going with a suggestion of my new favorite cocktail “Chichatini,” a martini prepared with a purple Peruvian corn mixer, sounds weird but in Peru, purple corn is pressed and prepared much like grapes. The “Chichatini” is similar to the “Pomatini,” but with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Really, if you don’t sample the Peruvian Cocktails Lemón’s offers, you are missing out on half the fun.

                                  I am ashamed to admit it, but we could not leave without dessert, Raina was kind enough to select for us since all the dessert items sounded fantastic. My husband and I could smell the caramelizing sugar aroma wafting in over the counter prior to Raina placing the Coffee Crème Brulee in front of us, another hit for Lemón.

                                  Driving in from Hanford we were preparing ourselves to not expect too much from a fairly new restaurant, Peruvian cuisine is not common to the valley and if the food and service were O.K. or just good, we would have been satisfied. WOW were we surprise to find such a gem right here in Fresno. Lemón’s Fresno location is even better that Lemón’s in San Francisco, and that is saying a lot, the S.F. Lemón’s receives rave reviews from the S.F. food critics year after year. Congratulations Fresno, Christmas came early this year, December 27, 2008, Lemón’s opening date.

                                  1. I was lucky enough to have another spectacular meal at Limon tonight, my last night in Fresno for quite awhile. We started off with an appetizer, the Chicharron de Pollo. It was marinated boneless pieces of chicken thighs that were deep fried and served with thinly sliced slivers of red onion, diced tomato and a lime vinaigrette. We shared a bowl of the sopa de dia; tonight's sopa was a cream of mushroom that we thought had a lot more depth, texture and flavor than the chicken and linguine soup that we had last time. As much as we would have loved to have a ceviche this time, we decided against that and went with three entrees to share between the three of us. We ordered the saltado de pollo, one of gbg's favorites. It was boneless pieces of chicken stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and french fries and served with white rice. The sauce was enriched iwh the flavor of a rocoto chili pepper. We ordered the chuleton carlitos, a thick pork chop that came with stir fried cabbage, carrots and mushrooms. We were delighted that the pork was not overcooked and it was moist and delicious. The third entree was a sole en salsa de mariscos. This was probably the most complex of the three entrees. It was two large pieces of sole that had been dredged in flour and pepper and other seasonings and pan seared and served over clams, mussels and shrimp in a rich sauce amde from a peruvian panca chili. We rounded out our dinner with a serving of the peach bread pudding that glazebrookgirl, alanstotle and I shared. It was another fantastic Fresno meal. I feel so fortunate to be able to share in Fresno's bounty. I'm sad that I have to leave town late tomorrow and hope to return soon. Thanks hounds for sharing your chowhound worthy city with me.

                                    1. I dined there last night and it is now added to my list of "regulars." I had the Pisco Sour (akin to a margarita, but milder and with cinnamon), then the Ceviche Limon (tender pieces of seafood with an interesting contrast of flavors), the lomo saltado, and the peach bread pudding for dessert (everyone at the table thought it was the best bread pudding they had tasted.) Enjoy!

                                      1. Ate here for dinner this week for the second time.
                                        We ordered the
                                        1. Mixed seafood frito: Lightly battered fish, shrimp, and calamari
                                        served with a dipping sauce. Excellent dish, seafood tasted fresh and
                                        was not over battered.

                                        2. Lomo Saltado: This dish was ok, it had an odd after taste,
                                        which I could not figure out. The chicken version was better last time.

                                        3. Rotisserie Chicken: Although the chicken had good flavor, it was very uneven
                                        considering it came from the much hyped rotisserie. The skin was not crisp,
                                        and the chicken was somewhat tough. The chicken had flavor, but was still
                                        underwhelming, no better than Pollo loco. I think it can only be distinguished
                                        by its interesting spice mixture.

                                        4. Peach Bread Pudding: This was very yummy, and my personal highlight of the
                                        meal. A delicious creamy custard bread mixture with nice peach accents.
                                        Every bite was like heaven.
                                        Service was ok, but seemed a little strained, they could probably use a little more organization during busy hours.
                                        The total was $60 including tip which also included two drinks.
                                        Very reasonalbe I thought.
                                        I'll definitely go back, although some dishes are uneven, Limon Fresno is still leaps and bounds better than some of the garbage served nearby.