Pollo Tropical -- N. Charleston, SC
This dying strip mall hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint was reviewed in yesterday's Post & Courier http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/s... As stated in the review, this is a Mexican native's response to the cookie-cutter tex mex joints.
Ate lunch there today -- delicious. Quarter chicken on the grill, served with excellent pinto beans, yellow rice, and a cabbage based salad/slaw. Lots of tortillas, with three good sauces to choose from for more flavor -- the picante was indeed hot.
My dining companion had the 1/4 rack of ribs -- excellent. Seasoning was unusual and really tasty. Same sides.
With something to drink and tax, lunch for two was about $18.
The location is a bit off the beaten path, but I will be back.
Just a note to mention that Pollo Tropical has expanded its menu quite a bit. I can't tell you everythig that's on the menu as my wife and I only glanced at it before the waitress took our order last time and we both ordered specials of the day. She got the huaraches plate and I got the gordita plate, both with chicken. These were both very good and obviously house-made, fresh and redolent with the pure taste of corn.
We really like this place. I think we would come here for the sweet plantains alone. Their horchata is also very good, as are their churros filled with dulce leche, freshly fried but I'm pretty sure not made in house. I still haven't tried their grilled ribs and chicken. On our first visit, I had the skirt steak, which was just okay. Last time I was there several patrons were partaking of another special--consome de borrego (mutton consome). It looked very tasty. If I see it there again, I think I'll have to try it. If I don't get distracted by something else, that is!
I'm glad to see a chowhounder's take on this place. It immediately shot to the top of my "must try" list when I read the article this week. Where on Dorchester Road is this place located?
Do they simply grill the ribs? I've always thought ribs should be slow-cooked for the best results. Did you get a look at the skirt steak by any chance? I think that piqued my interest the most.
Off subject but related to a previous post, I was in H&L the other day, and their cafe is serving pho now in addition to bun and some broken rice dishes as well as the Peking duck they previously specialized in. We had just had dinner and were searching for mooncakes so we didn't eat there, but I did peek at the menu. Alas, no bahn mi! Any idea where to find those sandwiches in Charleston?
re: Low Country Jon
Pollo Tropical is at 5335 Dorchester Road, about a mile or so on the left after you go under 526 (heading towards the air force base). It is on the left side of the strip mall, in the section that is at a right angle to the road.
I am not sure how long they grill, but the smoke is apparently used to add flavoring. I did not notice the skirt steak -- not my sort of eats. I definitely noticed the huge plates full of chicken and rib combos -- wow. Plus, the fried plantains looked pretty good. Not a place to go for the ambiance, but a good solid meal.
As far as H&L, I dropped by there again and they were serving. But the pho is limited to beef and duck, neither which had any real appeal. The rest of the menu seemed very limited. I am not sure I will venture back for the "restaurant" there. Pho Bac remains my go-to place for pho -- not sure if they have bahn mi.