There were cubby holes of colored lights behind the bar. Candles burned in what appeared to be upscale bongs. And everyone, without fail, was better dressed than me (including my dining companions. Did I miss a memo?). Lima, the night club, is where Wyclef went to party after his concert with Shakira. Am I cool enough for this?
Well, thank goodness for Restaurant Week, where they expect poorly dressed amateurs to come out of the woodwork and ogle the shiny lights on the wall.
The food is Cuban -- not Peruvian, as the name might suggest. But unlike the decor, which is super sleek, expensive-looking and chic, the food is just fairly run-of-the-mill Latin food. Nothing to write home about -- and hard to blog. Grilled vegetables and steamed white rice are hard to get excited about, but I will point out some highlights:
- I arrived ahead of the other three in our party, and so I sidled up to the (painfully hip) bar with the (impeccably dressed, smokin' hot) bar staff. Can we all guess what I ordered? Except that my champagne cocktail came with a rock candy lollipop in it. It was a funky little touch, and a new twist on a very classic cocktail. They had some other intriguing Latin-inspired cocktails, including a pisco lemonade, a caipirinha, and cilantro margarita (!?) which I may have to go back to try, but wearing high heels this time.
- As I ooh'ed and aah'ed over the pretty pink "lima-politan" the bartender remarked that I seemed to like "pretty drinks." Boy, did he have my number.
- The butter for the bread was a sweet, minty-lime butter. That's right, mojito butter.
- The chimichurri on my steak was so good I kind of want to take a bath in it. Pale green with chilies and cream and so very much garlic, it really brought my otherwise normal flat iron steak to life.
- My dessert flan came bathed in an orange-mango-rum sauce that totally outshined the flan and the fruit salad.
- The service was really gracious, and the manager even checked in to make sure everything was going well, which was nice since we were pretty clearly Restaurant Week tourists.
The rest of the experience was just completely average -- average starters, average entrees, the vegetarian restaurant week option a sad amalgamation of the side dishes from everyone else's plates. A normal flan and a flourless chocolate cake that is like every other flourless chocolate cake.
So what's the verdict? I'd go back, but with my party game on, and probably only for cocktails (and only the pretty ones). But I do need to learn to replicate that chimichurri, and I see a rum/mango/orange cocktail in my immediate future. After all, it is Friday...