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“Did not live up”
Review of Key Lime Cafe - CLOSED

Key Lime Cafe
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed July 10, 2009

When taking the Oxford ferry I asked the captain for a recommendation for dining in St. Michael's. He recommended several crab houses, and this cafe. I read a brief description in the local guide, and so we decided to try it out. We walked in and found the interior decor to be lacking, the seating looked as it was pulled out of a typ. family dinner and didn't match the older look of the building. The food was ok, not bad, but not much wow either. We ate out on the porch, on a cheap plastic table that sloped from the center out. Unfortunately it was inconvenient for the waitress to fight the front door with its closer to get out to service our table. I would call the service basic.

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Thank obscurearch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (130)
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103 - 107 of 130 reviews

Reviewed June 25, 2009

We visited Key Lime Cafe for lunch to celebrate my best friend's birthday after reading the reviews on Tripadvisor. Unfortunately, we did not have a similiar experience as others that have visited and reviewed this restaurant.

It is a cute restaurant, however the service was lacking and the food disappointing. We ordered the crab cake and rib special. The table next to us received their food well before ours and we arrived a good 15 minutes before them. Our drinks were never replenished and we were never asked "is everythink ok, do you need anything?:

The crab cakes were good but nothing special. The ribs were burned, not slight but charred like a chunk of charcoal. They served them with the burned side down like I wasn't going to notice? When a replacement order arrived, they were heated unevenly- parts warm, parts cold? The waitress never returned to see if they were ok. You would also expect the manager to stop by and "explain" the problem along with, at a minimum, an apology I must say the ribs were cooked to perfection (meat tender and falling off the bone), however, we didn't find the seasoning/sauce to be anything unique or memorable.

For dessert we ordered the key lime pie and the "daily special" coconut cream cake. The pie was ok if you like a very mild lime flavor. Since we favor a tart key lime, again we were disappointed. And about the coconut cream cake - daily special? Perhaps from a day last week. The flavor was nice but it was far from fresh - the cake was dry and the frosting broke off in chunks like it had been in the fridge way too many days.

I wanted it to be a nice meal, perhaps my expectations were too high. When I read the reviews here on Tripadvisor about how the chef was a CIA graduate I think I expected fresh ingredients and herbs used in unique exciting dishes. But hohum - not so.

I realize that soemtimes things go wrong in a restaurant so I might give them another try, but not before trying some other restaurants in town.

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Thank ljVirginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2009

My husband and I dined at Key Lime Cafe the wknd of Father's Day and really enjoyed the atmosphere, food and friendly service. It was surprisingly uncrowded for being a busy summer weekend with the boat show, I would imagine it's harder to get a table later in the summer. I had the jerk chicken which was really delicious. Only downside was my husband had the mahi mahi which he didn't really care for - he said he wished he had ordered my meal instead! The key lime pie was a great dessert - highly recommend.

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Thank kj80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2009

We read the great reviews on here and decided to try the Key Lime Cafe as it was the number one rated place in the area. We were not all that impressed. First the good: the BBQ ribs i had were amazingly good. They even brought me a dish of water to wash my sticky hands in( I liked that a lot). My wife liked her Mahi Mahi although I thought it looked overcooked. I can only speak for my meal to be sure though. The Ribs, as I said were great-tender and great tasting. They came with two sides - fries and Orange coriander cabbage slaw. Both are the reason I give this place a bad review. The plates at this restaurant are about 18$-25$ per plate for dinners, and for that I expect fresh ingredients that compliment each other. The french Fries were the kind you get at a bad carnival - frozen from a bag and as far from tasting like real potatoes as possible. I talked to the chef - he seemed perfectly nice - but he told me some disturbing things. I told teh waitress my problem, she relayed it to him. He came to ask what was wrong and we had a polite conversation about it. He informed me the reason that he served frozen tasteless fries was because he was working with a tiny kitchen and couldnt afford to keep enough fresh materials on hand for a 3 day weekend to cut and make fresh french fries. Plus, he said, he would rather serve something poorly made than nothing at all. This did not make me happy. The cabbage slaw was pretty bland too but I did eat it. The fact that this chef takes such pride in his food but days he willingly serves poorly made food because he can't get good ingredients is really bad. Stay away from this place, it isn't worth it. if the plates were 10$ I would reconsider but that is not the case. The ribs = great, everything else=poor.

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1  Thank whistlingpigwee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2009

I've been to a number of different restaurants, especially around the DC area. I'd even go so far as to call myself a bit of a "foodie" - I appreciate a good meal, and especially in the Gordon Ramsey school of authentic local ingredients prepared in a special way.

When my girlfriend and I first walked into the Key Lime Cafe, we had no idea we'd be entering one of the best restaurants we've ever enjoyed.

Two things make Key Lime the kind of place that beats high-end restaurants like Inox in Tysons Corner, VA or Dozu in Boston, MA - service and cuisine.

First, the service. We were treated like members of the family from the moment we arrived. Nowhere else would people make an effort to get to know your name. And my girlfriend and I are on a special diet, and the kitchen and waitstaff were delighted to accommodate us, even if it meant changing some of the menu or combining one entree with another set of side dishes so we could enjoy everything. We can be somewhat difficult diners because of the dietary restrictions - but at Key Lime we were made to feel like we were special, valued customers who mattered.

Second, the cuisine. You need to experience Randolph, the chef. Apart from being a larger than life character, this Culinary Institute of America-trained artist (and artist is the only word I can use to describe him) is able to take fresh, local ingredients and whip up magic. The duck... holy cow, the duck. So good. But he also made brilliant crabcakes, eggs benedict with tenderloin, steak, roasted chicken, etc.

And when I say he made it, I'm not kidding. The kitchen staff is him and his sous-chef Amanda (who really belongs on Food Network) and they create their own menu every week - what do they feel like making, what dishes would work given what's available, and so on. It's creative, artisan, the kind of thing you can't find in your antiseptic city restaurants or your factory-line chain places.

How do I know all this? No, I don't work there or work for Key Lime. But we were in St. Michael's for about two days, and ended up having four meals there. By the second, they were treating us like old friends - the kitchen staff would come out every meal to talk to us about how they prepared things, why they did what they did, and solicit our feedback.

It's humble, down-to-earth, and yet soaring. The food speaks for itself. The people are friendly, and they treat you right.

If you go to St. Michael's, and don't eat at the Key Lime Cafe, you're cheating yourself.

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Thank WillandJulia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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