by Ashley EamesCapital Cooking Contributor
Looking for a quick bite, but don’t want to sacrifice flavor? Lime Fresh Mexican Grill may just be the place you’re looking for. Located in Clarendon, Lime is the latest fast casual restaurant concept to hit the area. Like its counterparts, you’ll find the standard Tex-Mex favorites on the menu, but what really elevates this place is that everything is served cooked-to-order and the service staff will bring your food right out to your table and make sure that your dining experience is more than just fast-food. They also have great vegetarian, low-carb and low-fat options -- the restaurant chain started in South Beach, so it just makes sense.
If you like variety in your life, or just want to spice things up, Lime offers more than 50 types of hot sauce and a variety of homemade salsas including black bean and corn salsa, habanero salsa and a delicious pico de gallo. There’s something for everyone whether you like your food mild or with a serious kick. My favorite was the Salsa Suave, made with chipotle peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Although it is only a medium-heat, the chipotle peppers give it a unique smoky flavor. For those who like it really hot, try the Habanero Salsa. I’m warning you, it might just bring tears to your eyes.
For starters, I loved the flautas. The yellow corn tortillas were stuffed with chargrilled chicken, black bean and corn salsa, mixed cheese and then fried to a crunchy golden brown. The avocado-ranch sauce that they were served with was creamy and perfectly complimented the flautas and I actually found myself using the sauce on other dishes as well.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, Lime has five different salads on the menu to choose from. The Taco Salad is a crowd favorite, but I really loved the Cantina Steak Salad. This flavor-packed salad includes fresh greens, chargrilled steak, crispy bacon, black bean and corn salsa, onions, peppers, carrots, mixed cheese, pico de gallo salsa and crispy tortilla strips. The accompanying cilantro ranch dressing was rich but had a great fresh taste. Again, I wanted to use this on a sauce for other items as it was so delicious.
The quesadillas were good, but standard. They can be filled with your choice of chicken, ground beef, steak or mahi-mahi for a variety of options. For my money I’d go with one of the burritos that are packed with fresh ingredients and tons of flavor. The traditional Lime Burrito is excellent, but if you want something extra indulgent try the queso burrito that is overflowing with your choice of meat, rice and black beans for substance, jalapenos for a kick and of course, their homemade queso dip. A lighter option is the South Beach Burrito with chicken, cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo served in a low-carb tortilla without rice.
Prefer tacos instead? The Tijuana Taco is a double-decker taco (crispy corn taco shell stuffed inside of a soft flour tortilla) with an extra crunch factor or you can go with the always popular Fish Taco with your choice of grilled or fried mahi-mahi. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
Be sure to save room for dessert or you’ll be disappointed. They offer three dishes that are all delicious: Key Lime Pie, Sopapillas and Cinnamon Chips. The Key Lime Pie had flavors of the traditional pie, but the texture was more similar to that of a cheesecake. As someone who isn’t typically a fan of Key Lime Pie, I really enjoyed this new take on the dessert. The standout dessert was definitely the sopapillas. These fried pastries are like puffed-pillows of dough that have been coated with cinnamon sugar. They are complimented with a side of agave nectar in case you need a little extra dose of sugar.
Beginning March 13th, Lime will be hosting WTF Happy Hour every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Specials include $2 Coronas, $2 Tacos, $3 Sangrias and $3 Margaritas.
Lime Mexican Grill is located at 2900 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 104, Arlington, VA 22201.