MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus:         Newsletters 
Friday, December 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 27.0° F  Overcast
Collapse Photo Bar

Tropical Cuisine?

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Ashley » Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:13 pm

Anyone tried this restaurant? Saw a blurb about it in isthmus.
Ashley
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 8:53 pm

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby bellacat » Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:20 am

Disappointed with food. Friend pulled out long black hair from steak steam table dish. Wait staff apologized, brought new dish but did not offer refund. Got food poisoning-stomach unsettled for 2+ days. Would not recommend this restaurant!
bellacat
Member
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:51 pm

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby lolagirl » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:07 pm

I avoided the steam table entries - thought they looked kinda cafeteria-ery. The food I ordered was okay with a few flashes of really good, but the issues were almost overwhelming.

Food took way too long, orders came out one at a time to tables with several minutes in between, out of too many items on the menu. A lunch order of a sandwich (one with the plantain instead of bread) and a side salad took 30 minutes to arrive. Rice and peas was great, sandwich was just Ok.

The many organizational miscues make me think that no one there has any real restaurant experience. The lack of menu items (5 juices listed, only 1 in stock; no potato salad; out of full size napkins) makes me wonder if they're undercapitalized.

Personally, I hope they make it. The rice and peas was so good it made me want to come back - but I'll be giving them some time to figure out how to make things work. I'm hoping that if I give them a month or so they'll have figured out how to make a restaurant work. If they're undercapitalized and inexperienced, this may have been my one and only visit.
lolagirl
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 203
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:59 am

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Osso Muriendo » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:37 pm

Just went to Tropical this evening. Possibly the worst meal I've had in 20 years of Madison restaurant eating.
We ordered 3 stuffed bananas, 2 cod fritters, 1 order of garlic chicken, 1 pork jibarito, and 1 pork mofongo relleno.
the food was delivered in a seemingly random order varying between 50 mins-1 hr.
the stuffed bananas- 3 overfried, tasteless lumps stuffed with god knows what and resembling something brown and "postfood"ish
the cod fritters- actually looked good until you bit into them and tasted entirely of fried bleh.
the garlic chicken- swimming in grease, undercooked onions and garlic. It had the limited benefit of at least tasting like something even if what that was simply garlic.
the pork jibarito- was the closest thing to actual food although the two plantains constituting the "bread" were some of the worst plantains ive ever had and the pork had that delightfully precooked and left out taste that we all love so much from supermarket deli counters.
the pork mofongo relleno- was not, instead i got a massive lump of utterly impenetrable mashed plantains dry fatty tasteless fried pork and a predictably pathetic "salad" of sad lettuce and 2 terrible tomato slices.

Pork in a Puerto Rican restaurant should be a safe bet but I have a hard time ever remembering worse pork, outside of perhaps the pork I was served at the UW-Eau Claire cafeteria, but at least that was quickly served.

Madison is a cutthroat restaurant market for a city of its size. There are simply too many good restaurants competing for diners dollars to ever justify the dross that Tropical served tonight. Opening a restaurant is hard and you never want to see a business fail but every dollar that goes to this place doesn't go to one of the numerous "little ethnic places" around town who serve food that actually speaks of a place and tastes like something.
Seriously how do you ruin plantains and pork?
The Malta is good, that might count for something.
Osso Muriendo
Senior Member
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:43 am

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Lily » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:17 pm

A friend and co-worker wants to go here for her upcoming birthday. She's been there before and said the food was good. She had the buffet thing with roast pork, plantains, and pigeon peas with rice. It's her birthday later this week and she gets to pick the spot to eat. I'll post for everyone how the lunch goes. Hopefully well! I've never had plantains or Puerto Rican food but my friend has and is very familiar with the food. The only Puerto Rican food I had was a rice and pigeon pea dish over a Holiday Potluck that one of the guys made and brought in. Must have had every sort of meat on the planet in it, and the spice was heavenly. (Some day I'm going to get his recipe.) Hope Tropical Cuisine is getting better now that they've been in place for a bit.
Lily
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:02 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Lily » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:12 pm

So we took the birthday girl to Tropical Cuisine for her birthday on Wednesday. (You get to choose the restaurant on your bday.) We got there a bit late, say around 12:45 or so. We and another young man were the only customers in the place. There was some boxing match that the men in the place were attentively watching--a little loud but not any different than going to a sports bar. Not being avid boxing fans we sat away from the tv.

All of us ordered from their "steam table menu" which is a choice of one meat and two sides. I had their roast pork, the rice with pigeon peas, and savory plantains. It cost $8.50 for the meal but the portions are extremely generous. In fact, I was so full I was unable to eat dinner that day!! The woman waiting on us was helpful and friendly and brought out a special cream sauce for the plantains. Never had them before but I liked them a lot. They served a portion of roast pork that would feed three people!! The inside was falling-apart tender with a brown crispy crust on the outside. The rice dish was wonderful. It was rice, pigeon peas, some chunks of ham, with a spice I cannot quite place. It was really good. The food is not spicy but they have bottles of assorted hot sauces for the more daring and I used those on the rice. We will be going back. One of my friends had the sliced beef with onion. I tell you, everyone in our group was tempted to lick our plates clean the food was so good. They also have fried pork and different chicken dishes. I'm sure you can google for their menu.

I hope this place succeeds in Madison because the food is really good, home-cooked style eats. Maybe we hit them on a good day and/or maybe they're working out the kinks previously reported. For those forons who were disappointed I suggest you try this place again.
Lily
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:02 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Lily » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:42 pm

Gotta say that the friends I have from Puerto Rico say the food is authentic. No problem there. It's in their delivery. Hope they get things right before they go under!!
Lily
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:02 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby LargeMarge » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:55 am

Lily wrote:Gotta say that the friends I have from Puerto Rico say the food is authentic. No problem there. It's in their delivery. Hope they get things right before they go under!!


They didn't. It closed recently.
LargeMarge
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 212
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:57 pm
Location: Madison-on the Isthmus

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Lily » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:39 pm

Yeah, I read that. The food was good but their delivery was not up. With so many food establishments in Madison it is crucial to keep the edge on that. Too bad. Food was good.
Lily
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:02 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby lolagirl » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:24 am

I think their demise was yet another sad example of people thinking that because they can cook they can run a restaurant. Clearly these people had no idea what they were doing, and unfortunately they never learned.

After my 1 and only visit I sent them a very polite and detailed email describing some of the issues I encountered. This email was sent a few weeks before the post entered on this thread. I explained I'd worked in restaurants for many years and even gave some suggestions for improvements that wouldn't have cost anything but would have made it easier for customers. I never received any acknowledgment on the email, which further makes me think that no one there had any idea of how to how to run a business.

My guess is that the place was started by a few people who are really good home cooks. Most likely they were in the habit of cooking up big feasts for friends, and heard "this is so good you should open a restaurant" a lot. I'd bet they had just enough money to go week by week (when I was there they were out of many items) and never could get ahead. There's a huge difference cooking in a restaurant, and it seems from the comments in this thread that they never had an actual restaurant cook capable of understanding how to get food out to a table in an appropriate amount of time.

I'm sorry for them; and for me, as I like Puerto Rican cuisine and always get some when I'm visiting NYC. If there's a lesson in this, its' that people contemplating opening a restaurant should get some training in working in a restaurant kitchen first, and should put together a really good business plan.
lolagirl
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 203
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:59 am

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Lily » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:58 pm

Excellent point lolagirl. Just because you can prepare a tasty menu does not mean you can run a restaurant. There is a special skill to running a successful, profitable business, plus you must excel in customer service to make a go in such a competitive environment like Madison. That includes food carts and catering as well.
Lily
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:02 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby LargeMarge » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:46 am

There is a new restaurant, A La Brasa Latin Cuisine, in that space. They kept all the same furniture and decor. They don't have a menu posted in the window. They appear to have 3 specials every day that they put on a sandwich board on the sidewalk.
LargeMarge
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 212
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:57 pm
Location: Madison-on the Isthmus

Re: Tropical Cuisine?

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:05 am

A new restaurant serving South American food is now in its place.

La Brasa
Henry Vilas
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 20268
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Name sez it all


Return to Restaurant News & Reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR
Created with flickr badge.

cron
Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar