Driving along Dbayeh’s highway, there’s no way you will miss Lime Tree, a stand-alone diner that has taken over the space where Applebee’s used to be. Lime Tree is a Lebanese-launched concept that includes diner food and shisha. And when I say food, I mean absolutely anything your craving desires; Lime Tree has it. The menu is 20-pages long. Let’s see what they serve.
- Platters and pasta
- Kids menu
Give your car to the valet, walk up the couple stairs and enter a huge space that will surprise you. I was used to Applebee's – a low ceiling, warm ambiance and divided rooms. Instead, Lime Tree is transformed into a large, open area lit with strong, bright lights, with concrete flooring and a lot of white, grey and lime colors around. Grey wood tables fill in the space surrounded by grey and lime leather sofas. Lime Tree, as the name suggests, is remembered with the different designs decorating the walls along side the main metallic structure, which looks like a tree. Facing the entrance is the bar where drinks and sushi are prepared. Next to that, you’ll find a couple of smoke free tables. Continue towards the closed terrace where smoking is allowed, a space closed off with glass offering a view on the main road.
Within a month, I came here twice… Traveling, and not having much time to write the review, I decided to combine both in one that’s why you’ll find pictures taken at night and others during the day. To tell you the truth, the improvements are breathtaking, as if it was another restaurant!
As we sat, we were handed the menus and the placemats and they’re quite interesting. Each placemat is covered with 20 cartoon jokes that will keep you entertained…
The first impression:
- The space, which was way too bright for a restaurant, is now changed, with warm lights and an interesting design concept which feels fresh and clean
- New it is; the decoration, the spirit... It's one of those spaces where simplicity is key
- The menu has everything you crave for
- Salad bar has disappeared
As an amuse bouche, every table is offered a plate of Shanklish served like an ice cream scoop alongside four mini kaak. A great start: I loved the strength of the cheese mixed with diced tomatoes and the freshness of the kaak. They have a subtle sweet taste that's interesting.
Between the last visit for dinner, which took place in an Arguile ambiance, and today's lunch, where fresh sunny pools were lighting the restaurant, I can safely say that I've experienced the restaurant inside out.
So we ordered some appetizers:
- The Halloumi Zest is a large, white porcelain plate, topped with three plates including mini kaak, a grilled Halloumi pot and a plate of vegetables. Thickly sliced halloumi covered with mozzarella and baked in the oven. I loved it, the generosity of the portion and the vegetables on the side, but they should work more on the content's consistency.
- The Crisscuts are fries cut in a special way. Thick, fried potatoes cut inside out keeping empty corridors around them and making them enjoyably crispy. In addition to having a special shape, those potatoes are seasoned like potato wedges with a hint of spices. I’d definitely order them again.
- Mozzarella sticks: Six big chunks of mozzarella, breaded and fried. A crunchy envelope, which I found to too thick, and a melting heart. They can be improved.
- Chicken strips: That’s enjoyment. Chicken tenderloin, as they call them, are six chunks of chicken breast, breaded and fried and served with honey mustard on the side. I rarely enjoy these, except at Roadster. Lime Tree manages to make them good with a tasty honey mustard sauce.
- Puck Kaak: This was my favorite of all. The simplicity of a local kaaka that’s not chewy and is toasted to perfection, filled with Puck. Yes, Puck, I think we all know this cheese spread is smoother and more full-bodied than the Picon that’s usually used in such situations. A round Kaaka without the whole inside, a thin dough, a milky melting core… Top!
Let's try something the main deal:
- Mushroom Mania Burger: A fresh, fluffy bun that feels like Prunelle, the premium bread provider, filled with a load of ingredients. A special patty that’s not shiny and not oily, but isn’t what a burger should be like. As for the sauces, I find them to be a bit too sweet, which works perfectly well here, masking some of the patty’s spices. The side of coleslaw could be more colorful and better looking. This salad needs more vegetables, including carrots, and definitely less mayonnaise. I'd skip the burger.
- Classic Pizza: A generously filled pizza that that’s just like any other pizza you would have at a local bakery. The dough feels like that you would use to make a manoushe, only with pizza ingredients. It’s not bad though – sweet sauce on dough that’s crispy on the borders and tender in the middle… A real feel of what a Lebanese pizza can be like. That’s a recommendation.
- Special California and Crazy Crispy Maki Rolls: Four pieces come in each order. Surprisingly, the Japanese bites were good, very good - well-cooked rice, a crispy wrapping and fresh ingredients. I enjoyed them.
- Sirloin Sensation: Honestly, I didn’t except to eat such premium quality meat at a local diner. A 210-gram premium Angus that’s so tender and enjoyable, with a hint of pepper to end the experience in style.
- Parmesan chicken: Other than being too oily and too bulky, the breaded fried chicken is juicy and the tomato sauce adds a nice flavor and more juiciness. Even the pasta on the side is well cooked and full of taste.
- Tortilla chicken lemon topped with cheddar cheese with fries. This one is dry and the tortilla isn’t crunchy enough. It needs improvement.
- Food quality is good
- The place's ambiance is interesting
- Plates at Lime Tree are very generous and well loaded, but they lack finesse. They’re too bulky, like the ones we used to have at Applebee’s
- Burger needs to be completely changed
- The service could be more organized
- I believe the prices can be lowered a bit, and that is easy if the portions are fine tuned
Lime Tree is a nice concept, blending diner food with arguile, and it seems to work.