I always look forward to traveling to Charlotte, not only to see one of my oldest and dearest friends in the world, but also to enjoy the great culinary scene in the Queen City.
This trip we traveled over to the Plaza Midwood area near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s campus and ate at Loco Lime Mexican Inspired Grill. Loco Lime shares a building with Kickstand Burgers and Bar, which I hear serves some great burgers and local brews. I love this part of town, because there are a lot of local, independent restaurants that offer all kinds of inventive dishes and Loco Lime is no exception.
We were greeted by a very friendly, upbeat waitress named Sarah, who answered all our questions and was Johnny on the spot getting our drinks, chips and salsa and taking our order. We were impressed that we never had to ask for anything. The chips were replaced as soon as they were running low, as was the salsa, and our water was refilled numerous times. We also ordered some margaritas. I had the traditional margarita with the salted rim and my friend had a strawberry margarita. They were generous with the portion and had a good dose of tequila in them.
We decided to try the table side guacamole, a great, traditional Mexican appetizer. Boy was that a great decision! The waitress brings all the ingredients including the avocados, the pico de gallo and limes. She smashes up the avocados, squeezes generous amounts of lime juice and the pico de gallo is made of diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and hot sauce. Man, was this good! The only criticism we had was it was a touch too salty for our taste, but that didn’t keep us from finishing the whole bowl!
Our entrees were excellent as well. I had the Tempura Tacos, which were three tilapia filets deep-fried in a tempura batter on three flour tortillas topped with bits of fresh mango in a cilantro salsa, and with cilantro cole slaw and a chipotle sour cream sauce. They were great, but my husband wished I would have gotten the fish blackened instead of fried. Maybe next time we’ll order that one. I wanted something with a little crunch and this certainly delivered the crunch factor! I had a side of Mexican rice and black beans, both of which were excellent. I was impressed that they were so fresh! And, the black beans had some lime juice in them which made their flavor more interesting.
My husband ordered the chicken fajitas because our waitress had recommended it. Of course, it’s always a bit of an event when the steaming chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers arrive at your table. What really impressed me again was how fresh the side items were for all of our entrées. So many times when I eat at a Mexican restaurant, I don’t even bother with the side items because they are not that appetizing, but this time they were.
My friend’s husband, Mark, had the crab enchiladas. The dish came with three enchiladas filled with sweet crab meat, which was topped with a chipotle cream sauce and a side of rice and black beans. The crab was really rich and meaty, and the sauce was a little spicy to help cut the sweetness just a bit.
My friend, Renee, had the chili relleno, which was a really big poblano pepper, deep-fried in a light egg batter and filled with queso fresco cheese. This was topped with a ranchero sauce. She had re-fried beans, Mexican rice, a honey citrus cilantro slaw that was really unusual and green banana chips.
We were all way too full because we had eaten so many chips and our entrées were generously portioned, but we decided to struggle through just for you readers and ordered a tres leches cake which came with a lovely raspberry sauce on it. The tres leches was light and creamy and the sauce was sweet and a little tangy. Good thing there were four of us eating one piece!
Loco Lime is located at 1101 Central Avenue in Charlotte and is open from Sunday-Thursday from 11am-10pm and on Friday-Saturday from 11am-11pm. You can follow them on Twitter: @locolime or like them on Facebook.