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Tropical Cuisine

Tropical CuisineUpdate 8/17/12: Tropical Cuisine is closed (thanks for the news, Elizabeth!)

In a word: Has forgone the corn strategy.

The specs: #0767  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp; official web site, Facebook, Tropical Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Latest Tropical Cuisine news and reviews at news and reviews

Darby ate the stuffed banana and a shrimp turnover with a pineapple Goya.
JM ate the steak jibarrito with a fountain drink.
Nichole ate the lunch combo with pork, pigeon peas, tostones, and a fountain drink.
The bill was about $9/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Tropical Cuisine a B+; Darby gave Tropical Cuisine a C- (see our grading rubric).

Tropical Cuisine is Madison's first Puerto Rican restaurant, tucked behind Maharani on Broom Street. We went for lunch on the day before Thanksgiving. Mom and son(s?) were running the show; Food TV was on the big screens and we learned something about knife technique while we talked about holiday traditions and airport food. Darby knows a surprisingly good sushi spot at a hub somewhere, but we can't remember where she said it was.

Goya, stuffed banana, empanadaShe had the least happy experience, so we'll get that description out of the way. Thinking she'd save room for dessert since flan, a favorite, was on the whiteboard menu, she got 2 appetizers. Sadly, they were both out of flan and decidedly not in the business of light apps. Both the stuffed banana (battered and deep fried) and the shrimp turnover (like a deep-fried empanada) were overdone (and poorly photographed - Nichole's bad).

Beans and riceJM had better luck, even just in choice of side dish. The bean half of the side of beans and rice was exceptional. Small cubes of sweet potato and spiced ham turned plain, tender kidney beans into a meal unto themselves.

He took Lindsay's advice from our last stop and got the steak jibarrito, a sandwich with fried plantains starring as "The Bread." With special sauce, lettuce, cheese, and onions, it tasted remarkably like a Big Mac, but totally in a good way.

Pork, arroz con gandules, tostonesJibarrito

Nichole got the lunch combo: an entree and two sides from the steam tray. A generous pile of dark roast pork - complete with a strip of delicious crispy fat - was paired with salty pigeon peas in rice and fresh, soft tostones. Redemption!

If only Tropical Cuisine had been here earlier to capitalize on the low-carb trend when it was peaking, we think their Double-Down-esque sandwiches and courage to serve lipids would have served them well.

They also have the island mood that favors fresh air and a relaxed pace. But as we sat under a vent blasting (not unpleasant) warm air onto our table, we got to thinking they should have considered closing the front door sometime before Thanksgiving.


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that sushi place might have been at Detroit Metro. I have a friend who's a sushi connoisseur and who does a lot of traveling for business, and she's mentioned the sushi at the Detroit airport many times....

Sora at DTW is pretty decent and my favorite stop there during layovers. You can get limitless green tea, a simple roll, and a cup of miso soup for the same price as greasy sandwiches at other eateries in the airport. Their udon soups are where it's at though.

It's closed. There is a for sale sign in the window.

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Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



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