First Look: South Beach Comes to K StreetThe velvet ropes are up at Lima, the latest in a trail of dying-to-be-trendiest restaurant/lounge "concepts" to hit DC. Its look belies its K Street address--two skinny, sexy lounges and a dining room appointed with chocolate leather, tatami screens, and hostesses that look imported from South Beach. It's got cool credibility, too--nightclub promoter Masoud A. is an owner. Lima bills itself as more than a table-dancing destination, but too often the food comes across as an afterthought.
Chef Raynold Mendizabal, late of Pesce, lays out an ambitious, Cuban-accented menu. Though his ceviches--the tuna and blue-crab varieties especially--are nicely balanced, an appetizer of cumin-dusted sea scallops is upstaged by its side of serrano-ham-and-fig salad. What might be the Mid-Atlantic's only $14 empanada, filled with a sweet bind of porcini and beef, is no better than you'd find for a few bucks at a carryout. And a $32 rack of Berkshire pork was so overbrined one night it was inedibly salty. Our favorite parts of the meal? The lime-scented butter and baguette and tart caipirhinas at the start. Those we'd wait in line for.