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New on Hillhurst---TROPICALIA (review)

rabo encendido | Sep 23, 200502:35 PM

I hate bashing a restaurant that has just opened. It's like slapping around a newborn infant, or kicking a puppy.

That said, this place is terrible.

Do not be fooled by the initial promising signs---the dark wood and flickering candlelight at the adjoining VINOTECA FARFALLA; the lazy bossa nova playing overhead; the cascade of tumbling Portuguese emanating from the kitchen.

TROPICALIA is not full service---you order your food at the counter AMBALA style, take a seat in the tiny dining room, and wait an eternity for the ensuing gastronomic punishment.

We start with Pasteis, or empanada-like pies. The size of small footballs. Also, the consistency of small footballs. Mostly filled with air. What little filling there is---chopped chicken, corn, cut-up veggies, cheese---is gross and weirdly metallic tasting. Order is 1/2 unfinished.

I get the Piadina Brasilera, or Brazilian flatbread quesadilla. Aggressively bland, very heavy, wilting under the weight of its own grease. Served with tasteless guac, sour cream, and something called salsa campanha (imagine a sweet, extremely oily pico de gallo). The whole thing is an inedible mess. 2/3 unfinished.

Mrs rabo chooses the Moqueca De Peixe---white fish in palm oil and coconut milk. The dish immediately betrays its long sentence under a heat lamp, as the sauce has congealed into a wet cement-like substance. The rice and beans served alongside taste of absolutely, positively nada, seemingly a deliberately constructed black hole of flavor. The little Pao de Queijo (cheese roll) that comes with the dish is like a vaguely salty racquetball. 1/2 to 2/3 unfinished.

Now, mrs rabo and I are gluttonous---we will finish every morsel of even a mediocre meal, and probably help ourselves to seconds (this is particularly true of me). This food is so bad, however, that most of it remains on our plates, lonely and forlorn. Like roadkill.

A serious bummer. Still, I wish them well. They just won't be succeeding on my dime.

Tropicalia Brazilian Grill
1966 Hillhurst Ave
LA, CA. 90027

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