Sipping a frothy Pisco Sour inside Lima Limon's intensely yellow and lime green walls, it's easy to forget the blustery winter weather whipping through the streets of downtown Kuna. The brightly hued Peruvian restaurant is a spicy slice of South America in a small, sleepy town. Opened in August 2014 by Agustin Contreras, longtime general manager at Kuna's popular El Gallo Giro, and his Peruvian wife Deysi, Lima Limon has made a splash with its authentic fare.
Lima Limon incorporates Peru's surprisingly spicy aji amarillo pepper into most of its dishes, most notably the classic appetizer Papa a la Huancaina ($5.95), a plate of boiled, sliced potatoes drenched in a thick yellow sauce made with fresh white queso, aji amarillo peppers, garlic, milk and, traditionally, crushed saltine crackers. The app is served cold and garnished with black olives and a hard-boiled egg. Though it's not much of a looker, this Peruvian snack packs a wallop of heat.
Another standout appetizer is the ceviche de pescado ($9.95), a tangy heap of raw white fish tossed in a marinade of lime juice, garlic, cilantro, chili and red onions. The ceviche is accompanied by a pile of plump, hearty hominy; a boiled hunk of camote, or sweet potato; and a mound of charred corn kernels. The flavors and textures are fantastic together, leaving you sifting through the remaining shards of onion seeking one last bite of fresh fish.
Entrees at Lima Limon are divided by protein: chicken, steak or seafood. Some dishes, like the lomo saltado ($12.95)—strips of steak, tomatoes, aji amarillo peppers and onions seared in a wok with soy sauce and served with a side of french fries and white rice—are fusion favorites that give a nod to Peru's Asian population. Others, like the chicken alfredo ($11.95) or the cheesy seafood chimichanga ($11.95), are geared more to the American palate.
From the smattering of entrees we sampled, pollo seems like the way to go at Lima Limon. Though the bistec alo pobre, or beefsteak ($13.95), was well seasoned, the slab of skirt steak was overcooked and leaned too heavily on the oozing yolk from the accompanying fried egg to add moisture. The camarones al ajillo ($14.95), large tail-on shrimp sauteed in garlic and white wine served with rice and tortillas, were flavorful but not particularly interesting. The chicken entrees, on the other hand, were awesome. The pollada ($9.95), was my favorite—a moist quarter chicken coated in a thick layer of spices, peppers and pisco, served with crunchy fried potatoes—and the pollo a la brasa ($9.95 quarter, $13.95 half, $20.95 whole) was a close second. Roasted over an open flame, the tender pollo was served with a side of french fries and two creamy, spicy aji pepper sauces. After plunging a crisp fry into the searing aji sauce, a hearty pull on my Pisco Sour couldn't wash away the burn.
Though it was an unpleasant surprise to find our car coated in a thick dusting of snow after such a warming meal, I resolved to make the trek back to Lima Limon soon to escape the winter doldrums. Peru's National Pisco Sour Day, Saturday, Feb. 7, sounds like the perfect excuse.