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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Limón Rotisserie's Chicken Still Shines

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM

The best thing about Limón Rotisserie's chicken? It's chicken. - PYROGENIC/FLICKR
  • pyrogenic/Flickr
  • The best thing about Limón Rotisserie's chicken? It's chicken.
Limón Rotisserie satisfies two minor yet rarely realized requirements for happiness: juicy, salty roast chicken halves with tasty, well-prepared sides for $10 (okay, it's actually $9.50) and truly cold beer. We've gotten so sick of sucking down lukewarm Pabst drafts at Mission bars and pulling room-temperature cans from the cases of corner stores. At Limón Rotisserie, a bottle of Cusqueña ― the dry, malty "Gold of the Incas" ― arrives on the scene like Mr. Freeze. "Chill," it intones like a Peruvian Schwarzenegger, and your heart turns into snowdrift with a few pulls. It's so cold your hand gripping the bottle goes numb.

The beer, of course isn't the main event, but it certainly adds to the experience. Little pairs more wonderfully with a few sub-arctic brews than a spit-roasted chicken, particularly this restaurant's salty, garlicky version with skin that is soft and almost melted in some places and then crusty and dark in others. Sauces come ― a chimichurri, a rocoto, and so forth ― but they're best used as a dip for the sides: puffy wands of yucca enveloped in a golden film of crisp, an orange thatch of sweet potato fries, and tacu tacu, a homely yet rich-tasting rice-and-bean fritter. The ceviche mixto ($9.25) makes a fine opener. When we went two days ago, the high, heavy sun was tipping the scales at 90 degrees, and we found no relief ― neither via shade nor breeze ― until we started devouring the cool bits of lime-and-rocoto-marinated halibut, shrimp, and calamari.

When Bauer reviewed this place in 2008, he dubbed it "a restaurant for the times." While its model ― inexpensive, high-quality food people feel like eating often ― is more recession-proof than most, we like it because it gives us an excuse to eat chicken. Let's face it: Unless it's fried, and sometimes even then, chicken is usually the most boring thing on the menu at a good restaurant, a sop thrown to conservative eaters. Here, chicken is the restaurant's raison d'etre, and since Limón Rotisserie is no grubby takeout joint, that preoccupation, in such a classy, pleasant setting, is as refreshing as a beer so icy it makes your mouth hurt.

Limón Rotisserie: 1001 South Van Ness (at 21st St.), 821-2134.

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