The ahi tune ceviche, served with glazed sweet potatoes, toasted corn and fresh corn, prepared with a soy sauce, ginger, chili and lime style, at Lima Ruby in Palo Alto. Courtesy Molly DeCoudreaux.
By Kate Bradshaw
The Peninsula just expanded its Peruvian dining options with the addition of Lima Ruby, an upscale restaurant in downtown Palo Alto.
The restaurant, located at 326 University Ave., replaces the now-closed Burma Ruby restaurant.
Lima Ruby owner John Lee is no stranger to the Peninsula restaurant scene. He owned Burma Ruby and still owns its sister Palo Alto restaurant, Rangoon Ruby (located at 445 Emerson St.), as well as another Peruvian restaurant in Belmont, Ají Limo.
Salmon ceviche, prepared with Crema de ají Amarillo, a yellow chili cream with lime at Lima Ruby in Palo Alto. Courtesy Molly DeCoudreaux.
Lima Ruby's chef, Luis Echarri, is from Peru, as is the entire team, including manager Eva Wang. "I'm very happy with this team … the whole team is doing pretty well," Lee says.
For Wang, the restaurant offers a unique opportunity to highlight the cuisine from her home country. She has a background in hotel management and is from Lima, Peru. "When you study food and beverage, they prepare you for service, nothing specifically for Peruvian foods," she says. "I've worked in international restaurants (where) they serve international food, but it's nothing like explaining your own food. It's another feeling."
She added that while the kitchen team was happy with the opportunity to highlight classic Peruvian cuisine, they also opted to put a spin on some items, creating an extensive vegetarian menu and offering the lomo saltado with certified Angus beef.
Lomo saltado, a dish featuring certified Angus beef tenderloin with onions, tomatoes, vinegar and shoyu, served with fries and white rice, at Lima Ruby in Palo Alto. Courtesy Molly DeCoudreaux.
The ceviche and the lomo saltado, along with the pisco sour and pisco punch cocktails, are popular menu choices, according to Lee.
The restaurant scene in Palo Alto is still in recovery after the pandemic, Lee says. "Every month has been different. Some days are good. Some days are bad. Palo Alto got hit very hard."
Lee's businesses were hit extra hard over the last couple of years because of alleged embezzlement by the restaurant group’s former director of human services.
The former employee of the restaurant group was charged last October with embezzling more than $200,000 from the business between February 2019 and October 2020. Payments to herself allegedly included multiple $15,000 bonuses and a $65,000 payment for a Porsche.
Pulpo a la parrilla, or grilled octopus with chimichurri sauce, watercress, roasted red pepper and rustic potatoes at Lima Ruby in Palo Alto. Courtesy Molly DeCoudreaux.
Before that, in January 2019, the restaurants' owners agreed to a $4 million settlement covering workers' unpaid wages.
Following a soft opening Sept. 12, the restaurant continues to see more and more visitors as the days go by, Lee says.
"Every single day the sales keep going up," he says. "I know this restaurant is going to be very popular."
Lima Ruby, 326 University Ave., Palo Alto, 650-709-2064, Instagram: @limarubypa