Tropical Cuisine opened quietly last month on Broom Street between W. Washington and W. Mifflin. It claims to be the “first authentic Puerto Rican restaurant in Madtown.”
With only a table of four as the only other diners during a recent lunch, I was surprised and annoyed that my order took 34 minutes. It’s probably why the restaurant has flat screens–which would otherwise be out of place–in the corners: so that you have something to do while you wait and wait and wait.
The appetizers list includes stuffed bananas ($1.75), cod fritters ($1.75) and rib tips (8/$4.50 and 16/$9). I tried the meat turnover ($1.75), and while eating it I couldn’t help but think that the meat patty at Jamerica is much more enjoyable than the bland counterpart I was consuming. It probably would have been better if it came with some sort of dipping sauce.
The steak jibarito, which is a sandwich that uses plantains, was better. I liked the creamy sauce and the steak, though as a whole it was pretty messy. Note, if you don’t like plantains, which are much less flavorful than bananas, you may not like jibaritos.
The disappointment continued in my other sandwich, as I ordered the Tripleta ($6.25), which has ham, pork, pastrami and turkey, but instead I was given just a pork sandwich ($5.75). On top of missing several meats, there was very little pork; the sandwich was mostly just bread.
Other menu items include a steam table, which is one meat and two sides from the daily menu for $8.50; stuffed plantains, including one with octopus for $14.95; and soups, salads and a kids menu.
Tropical Cuisine is open Mon-Sat for lunch, dinner and carryout. There are metered spots in front, or you can park in the Metropolitan Place ramp behind it.