Stopped into Tropico Restaurant last night before the 2nd installment in an Italian wine tasting course at Panorama (can't drink on an empty stomach!). Tropico is at 213 Chestnut St., the same place where the old Saboor was. While I found that food to be Sa-booring (rather bland, uninspired cooking), Tropico is different. They specialize in authentic Caribbean and Latino cuisine including Dominican, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Mexican food.
They are BYOB. Apps run from about $3.50 to $9.95 (for fresh octopus). Entrees run from $10.95 to $21.95 but most are in the $10.95 to $15.95 range. I started with very good beef Empanadas ($3.45) that had slightly too little filling but very good dough (what makes or breaks a empanada, IMHO), fried to perfection. I then had Bistec Encebollado ($10.95), tender steak marinated in herbs and sauteed with onions. It came with a nice side salad of mixed greens and a generous helping of rice and beans. Didn't have room for dessert (flan, fried ice cream, tembleque).
The people are very friendly and the space is small (35 seats) but cozy and cute. This is definitely NOT fusion or Neuvo Latino food, but very authentic home cooking and quite tasty (not bland but not overly seasoned either). They also serve lunch as well.
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