Lime: Tasty Fun for Groups

I thought I knew some things about Lime: I thought it was relatively new; I thought it was in the Mission; I thought no one I knew had been there, except the friend who recommended it. I thought wrong. Lime has been around for at least a year, maybe more. It's nowhere near the Mission - it's on Market in the Castro, a mistake you would never make after seeing the neon fuschia lighting and white banquettes. It's possible that the friend who recommended it was actually talking about Limon. Most disappointing though in my quest to try somewhere new was Oren's surprised exclamation, just a few blocks before our arrival, that he had in fact eaten there before!Despite, or perhaps because of, all of these misconceptions, we ended up at Lime with two good friends on Saturday night. There is no mistaking that the food is actually good. Even more than that, it's fun. The menu is organized around plate costs: $5 plates, $6 plates, $10 plates, etc. All are meant for sharing. Though there are plenty of small tables, I would definitely rather go back to Lime with group of three or more. We ended up sampling more than half the menu with not a single dud. The small fish tacos were fresh, tangy, spicy, light, and delicious. We ordered a second serving. Tuna poke, shoestring zucchini frites, and deviled eggs were all delicious. And, to shock those of you who still think of me as a vegetarian, despite my recent efforts, I have to recommend the mini burgers, which are about the size of a hearty scoop of ice cream. I tasted my first burger just a few weeks ago at Balboa Cafe in Squaw and was amazed at how good they can be--I honestly never thought I would like burgers. Well, for a second taste (on the strong endorsements of my companions), these were pretty darn good too. Oren did not get the second half of his back. Don't lap on the pity yet though: he got another one.With a wink and a nod to the uproar about "grilled cheese sandwich blogging" in the March Food & Wine Magazine, I have to note that grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup dipping sauce do seem to be all the rage these days. See Sauce, from a few weeks ago for a foccaccia version.The atmosphere at Lime is a little surprising: the white marble bar has small screens set into the backsplash. They show funny, finding Nemo type animation or patterns, but on Oren's first visit some time back, they started showing hard-core gay porn on the screens at 9pm. This, coupled with the white and fuschia color scheme and the waitresses in PH skirts, reminds you that this is the Castro, but in a good-humored way.The biggest shortfall at Lime--one I don't begrudge them too strongly--is the specialty drinks. They have good alcohol and house-infused vodkas that sounded interesting, when they're not sold out, but the drinks are on the weak side and tend towards the sweet. The vanilla mojito came highly recommended, so I ordered it "less sweet" as suggested and still found is cloying. The regular mojito was better, but still not the most inspired thing. You're better off sticking with the classics unless something really calls out to you.Lime is definitely one of the more fun, casual, inexpensive, group-friendly places I have been in awhile and I would be happy to go back. Their brunch may just be intersting too--let me know if you've tried it.Attire: Almost anything that won't make you feel like a dud in this neighborhood and wouldn't get you arrested in another will fly here. Steer clear of super short white skirts, lest you be confused for a waitress. If you're not feeling inspired, jeans and a cool top would be just right.Lime2247 Market StreetSan Francisco, CA415.621.5256Reservations on OpenTableParking can be difficult. Call the restaurant to find out about validated parking nearby.