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Tropico Restaurant, Cambidge St, Cambridge

itaunas Nov 17, 2006 08:34 PM

I have mentioned this Salvadoran restaurant on the board once before, but hadn't gotten back to explore it beyond Pupusas. This is partly their fault as they do not list the central american offerings handily in the shop and often don't even fully pull up their shutters. I finally got back there today and snagged a copy of their takeout menu (spanish only).

The dining room itself is pretty chaotic and they hadn't cleared plates off one table when I got there. The counter has a window into the kitchen and a view directly onto a charbroiler where they were grilling some whole chicken legs (they looked tasty). There were 3 or so delivery orders waiting to go out and no other patrons. Nothing too special in the drink case, although they do list horchata on the menu, a cashew-fruit based juice (maranon), and a strawberry milkshake.

It is a sub and pizza shop, so most of their menu is pizzas, subs, and there are pastas too. Despite some latin names, the pizzas are basically normal ("picante" is the most so with chiles , but then italian sausage and mushrooms). The subs also are standard fare, although if the "pollo a la parilla" where the above leg meat, that would be a tasty sub, but I bet is chicken breast (possibly nicely marinated). I think they might have a carne asada sandwich, but that too could be a steak as in chese steak (which they have listed in another place). I won't bother with the pastas.

Pupusas are $1.75/ea, taco $1.75, Quesadillas $4.95, Burritos $5.25. Just Chicken or Beef (carne asada) Pupsas are cheese, loroco, and revueltas, although I don't believe they had loroco today.

They have 9 plates, with salad, rice, and fries. (I don't see beans mentioned anywhere, but there was evidence of them on the dirty plates.) The house plate gives you a choice of chicken or steak, and comes with fried eggs (green peppers, onions, tomatoes). They have a combo with steak, chicken (maybe grilled tenders), 4 shrimp, 4 chicken wings, and scrambled eggs which is $15. The chicken legs I mentioned are a plate "pechuga asada de pollo" $6.99, they have a carne asada and pork chop plate. They offer both grilled and fried shrimp, as well as baked fish.

As a control I tried two pupusas and two beef tacos. The pupsa dough was nice -- firm on the outside, soft on the inside. Filling was a bit bland, so some hot sauce would be recommended. The bag of slaw (curtido) looked homemade, not too much vinegar or spicyness. The tacos were two griddled corn tortillas, slightly on the dry side (inside one a bit moister). Filling was salvadoran cream, iceburg lettuce, basic salsa. Chewy carne asada filling.

I have been a bit down because Tapatio on Broadway was damaged by fire. This doesn't compare either in menu, ingredients, or execution. However, I have on occasion trundled over to the Jose's truck for lunch, but I think I will instead explore their plates and hunt down a bit of hot sauce next time. And they deliver with a $10 order. 746 Cambridge St, 11am - 10pm, 617-661-0444

  1. passing thru Nov 17, 2006 09:31 PM

    thanks for the informative review, i actually had always thought this was just a sub shop. will need to check it out.

    and that is a shame about tapatio, i always enjoyed that place when i got the chance to get out there. hope they come back...

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