People are saying good things about Sal y Limon (as you can probably tell from the banner above), a little Mexican joint nestled between a pizza shack and a bubble tea place in a small plaza on Kingsway and Fraser. I remember back when I lived in this area another quirky “Mexican” place occupied this spot, run by Indo-Canadians who used donair meat in their burritos. All my friends hated it but I liked it at the time. The name escapes me, does anybody remember it?
Anyway, on with the review. Line up (Sal y Limon is busy) and place your order, then they will call your name when it’s ready. Now normally I don’t tend to tip at these kind of setups since there’s no “service” to speak of, but there was a tip option on their Interac so I thought what the hey, I pretty much know the food’s gonna be good, right? I immediately regretted it though; the lady who took my order walked away without a word in the middle of the transaction! I figured she would come back, but nope, I was left to rip off the receipts myself while leaning over the counter (I’m on a crutch at the moment recovering from surgery), sort the customer receipt from the merchant and then reach further to pin it on their stack. All the while there were three employees in the kitchen including the woman…you’d think they would have noticed.
To be fair, Wendy was in the bathroom when the order was called and when one of the guys saw me hobbling up on the crutch he kindly brought the food over. They had a great selection of salsas and sauces. We tried the tree chili (I’m guessing this one’s arbol unless they just spelled “three” wrong lol), Diablo, avocado, and peanut sauces. All were fairly spicy with the hottest being the Diablo, which earned its name and had me breaking a sweat, and the mildest being the peanut. Even the avocado had a fair amount of zing to it.
I started with one of their famous tacos, the Cordero al Cilantro Taco with cheese ($2.75). It’s lamb marinated in cilantro (and topped with it). This was definitely the highlight of the meal and I can see why their tacos are popular here. The meat was flavourful although I don’t know how “cilantro-ey” the marinade was since they also added fresh cilantro on top. It’s always nice to have the double shell too. Tacos are $2.25 without cheese.
After trying huaraches for the first time at Hernande’z Cocina we were excited to find a place that offered them here in Vancouver, so I ordered the Super Sal y Limon huarache ($10). Well…you know how in the Hernande’z review they looked mealy and dry but were actually moist? These looked mealy and dry and they were. The edges were hardened as well to the point that there were spots which couldn’t be cut by the plastic knives we were eating with.
The Super Sal came with chicken, beef, and chorizo as well as black beans, onions both pickled and regular, and cabbage. The final touches were queso fresco, crema,and salsa. I liked the toppings and it definitely had more meat than the regular versions like Wendy’s below, but I felt the chorizo added a bit too much salt on top of the already salted huarache.
Wendy got the Cordero al Cilantro huarache ($8.50). With lamb and cilantro being two of her most “favouritest” foods it was a must-try for her, but unfortunately her huarache had the same issue as mine (dry and hard around the edges). She liked her toppings although she couldn’t detect the cilantro in the marinade, but with all the stuff they heap on it it’s no wonder! The amount of toppings on hers were about the same as on mine, but hers had less meat and more beans. She was also presented with pieces of pickled pepper placed on top. (Sorry, I got reminded of Peter Piper and couldn’t help myself!)
I wanted to mention that they support local artists at Sal y Limon which is always commendable and appreciated; their main wall is lined with beautiful paintings which you can take home for a price. I would have snapped a pic but the place was busy and I didn’t feel as though I could take one without invading the privacy of the other patrons.
I guess if I lived in the neighbourhood still I might give Sal y Limon a second chance, but as it stands now I will be giving it a pass after tonight’s ho hum experience. If you go my recommendation would be to stick with what they do best: the tacos.