There’s a story behind how I heard about Lima’s Chicken! I had dinner last week with a friend at a new upscale Peruvian restaurant in Elkridge, “Pisco”. The manager came by to ask how we liked our meal and I shared that I was disappointed with Pisco’s nontraditional version of Lomo Saltado – instead of the stirred fried beef, tomatoes and onions and gravy topping a pile of french fries, the Pisco version had their fries artfully arranged in the french fry version of a log house with no sauce or gravy on them. ( the Pisco fries were not only undercooked but were all suspiciously about the same size and length leaving me wondering if they come from a bag of processed frozen fries) . The manager said that they resorted to this presentation because of fears that that Americans would not like mushy fries in gravy – BUT… there was a another new restaurant a couple miles east on Rte 175 – Lima’s – where they served it the traditional way. That caught my interest for sure! I did some Googling and found that Lima’s Chicken was a small new chain with three locations in Maryland: downtown Annapolis, Bowie and the newest in Hanover on Rte 175 less than a mile east of the BW Parkway.
Lima’s Chicken has replaced a former free standing “Friendly’s” restaurant. While the outside hints of its Friendly’s roots, the inside has been refitted along the lines of what a Peruvian version of a Roy Roger’s fast food joint! There’s a long counter with the menu displayed above and an open kitchen behind it where you glimpse chickens roasting on the rotisserie and get a look at the side dishes.
The eating area is fitted out six booths along two long walls with another 12 tables positioned in between with large poster sized images of Peru on the walls.
The menu at Lima Chicken offers a wider range of choices than you might guess. Of course, the Peruvian style marinated and rubbed with spices rotisseried chicken is a biggy! (1/4 Chicken w/2 sides: $7, 1/2 Chicken w/2 sides: $9). But then there are also fifteen Peruvian entrees ($10-$13), special salads ($5-7; add chicken for $3, steak for $4), chicken or steak burritos and tacos ($7), half a dozen sandwiches (most $7) and side dishes ($2/small, $4/large including French Fries, Yucca, Plantains. Arroz Chaufa, White Rice, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, and String Beans) I decided to try the Lomo Saltado ($12) while my friend Tom decided to go with 1/2 chicken with green beans and Arroz Chaufa ($)
Lima’s Chicken signature dish didn’t disappoint and made a big impression. Portions are very generous. The chicken was moist and tender; the spice coated skin of the chicken was delicious while the unusual smokey flavor of the rice stood out ahead of the pack from any other rice dish I’ve had.
The Lomo Saltado looked (and tasted) delicious. Unlike the version that we tried at nearby Pisco (which costed $5 less here at Lima’s Chicken!), the gravy soaked strips of beef, tomato and onion covered a layer of french fries. There’s a traditional scoop of white rice served with the dish as well as two sauces – one clearly an intense cilantro based sauce, the other with a mustard influence (not sure what it was, but it was good!)
We really enjoyed the Peruvian food that we sampled here and we left thinking about when we might return to try out more of the dishes on the menu!
FACTS: Lima’a Chicken – Hanover; 2641 Annapolis Rd (aka Rte 175 – less than 1 mile east of BW Parkway); 410.551.5393; http://www.limaschicken.com ; no alcohol; limited vegetarian options; open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner; plentiful adjacent free parking; drive thru window.