Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill


We ate everything at Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, seriously. Sara and I were recently invited to try out Brier Creek's latest in fast casual Tex-Mex cuisine, and they served us everything on their menu.

Negra Modelo

Brier Creek isn't any stranger to fast casual, Mexican-inspired food. Lime Fresh's location is the ashes of restaurants like Saslarita's and Qdoba. To stir up interest or maybe even to exorcise the demons of the location, Lime Fresh sent out invitations to the blogging community for a special, media only fiesta.

Sangria Margarita

The thing was, when we arrived, there was no fiesta. Just a quiet weekday evening with families sprinkled around the restaurant. We approached the cashier to inquire about the event and she looked as confused as we were. She found her manager, Kali, who greeted us with a wide smile and welcomed us to Lime. Kali didn't mention anything about the scheduled fiesta, but sat us down and offered to get us any drink. Seriously, any drink in the menu. Even after I ordered a beer, he insisted we have more.

Beerita

Suddenly, we were sitting there with a beer, beerita, and sangria margarita looking like Samantha from Sex in the City. Sara was delighted in her sangria margarita, immediately brightening up after her first sip, "This is delicious!" Beeritas for me stir up uncomfortable images of business people getting drunk at TGI Fridays, trying to prove to themselves they still are able to drink as much as their undergrad years. I enjoyed just sticking with my Modelo.

Salsas

As with many fast causal Mexican places, Lime Fresh takes pride in its salsa bar. So as our introduction to Lime's cuisine, Kali bought us every one of their salsas, accompanied by fresh tortilla chips.

Chips

Nothing was special about the chips themselves but they were warm and had a good bit of salt, which too many places forget to do. Out of all the salsas, the one that impressed me the most was the pico de gallo. It was everything you expect from a quality pico-- fresh ingredients and popping flavors.

Salsa Bar

The habanero salsa was also noteworthy for being a cup full of napalm. Its was hot, the kind of hot that goes unnoticed until it attaches itself to the back of the throat, setting fire to your tonsils.

Hot Sauce Bar

Along with Lime's seven salsas is their collection of hot sauces. Fifty hot sauces are displayed in the restaurants while different bottles are continuously rotated from Lime's master collection. Kali recommended that we avoid the 357 Mad Dog hot sauce which is named after the 357,000 Scoville units of heat that the sauce packs.

Queso

Joining in on the chip dunking fun was Lime Fresh's queso. Unique to Lime's queso is their salsa is mixed inside the molten bowl of cheese. Not surprisingly, this was Sara's favorite dish of the night, but it's hard to screw up a bowl of melted cheese.

Nachos

And just when we thought we were chipped out, we tried Lime's nachos. Typical suspects of chicken and beans topped the nachos, although I appreciated the real cheese melted over the chips rather than a horrible cheese sauce. This staple of gringo cuisine is not going to surprise anyone but it was satisfying nevertheless.

Cantina Steak Salad

Surprisingly, Lime Fresh rocks a good salad. The steak was cooked to order and came out with a terrific pink center. Served along side fresh greens and a decent cilantro sauce, it made for one of the more impressive dishes of the night.

Flautas

One of best dishes of the night were immediately followed by one of the worst. Chicken and cheese wrapped in a corn tortilla and deep fried, what could go wrong? A lot actually. The inside was tasteless and dry.

Fried Fish Taco

Not all fried things at Lime were a bust, as Lime's fish tacos proved. A crispy and light batter enveloped moist, white fish dressed with a refreshing cilantro sauce.

Grilled Fish Tacos

For more health conscious eaters, Lime offers a grilled version of their fish taco. Not as exciting as the fried version, but it still featured moist and tender fish. The flour tortilla I thought was a disappointing choice, as I thought the corn tortilla would contrast nicely with the dish's overall one note flavor.

I Wanna Tijuana Taco

When Kali brought out Lime's Tijuana tacos, all I could think about were the double decker tacos from Taco Bell. A personal favorite of Kali, I didn't find the same enjoyment. Although, the steak was well cooked.

Queso Burrito

The finale was the queso burrito. As the name suggests, there is no shortage of queso inside of the burrito. It was the size a log and stuffed with ingredients. Hard to screw up but also hard to be impressive.

Cinnamon Chips

Kali ended our night on a sweet note, first with Lime's cinnamon chips. Fried flour tortillas tossed with cinnamon and sugar served with whipped cream. Hot, crispy, cinnamon, and sweet-- nothing not to like.

Soapapilla

A very similar dessert on Lime's menu was the sopapilla. Really the only difference is the side sauce which instead whipped cream is agave nectar.

Key Lime Pie

The last dessert was a let down. From the start, I asked Kali if he knew where the Key Lime Pie came from, and all he could muster was "Some factory..." The key lime pie wasn't tart and the crust was bland and crumbling.

Is there anything that separates Lime Fresh from the vast ocean of fast casual competitors? Not really. Lime pushes very hard party image, whether it's silly dish names like "Nach'Yo'Momma's Nachos" or as Kali liked to put it "playing hip music and none of that elevator crap." But underneath the facade of a fiesta is another decent bite to eat in the middle of consumerism known as Brier Creek.


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the timely tweet about this review. Stopped in for dinner tonight. They're open until 10 on weeknights. Looks like you didn't get any of their guac, it's good. I can't believe all of the bottled sauces are free to use, some are quite expensive.

Anonymous said...

I split my time between Miami Beach and Raleigh and am pleased to hear that Lime has hit Raleigh. The original Lime is on the west side of South Beach and it's one of my favorite quick-eats places. Unfortunately, Lime is way out in Brier Creek. I wouldn't complain if Lime took over current Armadillo Grill in Glenwood South.