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May 15, 2010 08:14 PM

Pollo Tropical - East Brunswick

Saw a sign that one of these is coming soon. Rt. 18 South, East Brunswick. There was a Miami Grill/Arthur Treacher's there. Saw the building one week, a pile of rubble the next, this week a level field of dirt so apparently it's easier or cheaper to erect a new building than renovate the old one. Don't get too excited, it's a chain, with a few locations in NJ already.. but, the menu does look interesting, with Caribbean flavors.

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  1. I've had Pollo Tropical in Miami, and it's actually been really good.

    1. I have tried them in Naples. FL and been impressed for quick food. Fairly healthy options available. I would be happy if one came to Cherry Hill

      1. I believe that they have one on Rte 1 in Edison as well.

        1. If the old architecture is distinctive (e.g., IHOP or Friendly's), the new place will almost definitely want to rebuild from scratch. (They may even have to, if the old place has trademarked their "look".)

          1. Two comments reflect lack of attention to the market:

            1) Pollo Tropical is excellent. Have it when I visit mishpucha in Ft. Lauderdale. Glad one is coming here.
            2) Now I lost one place that has Nathans, good Gyros, Kenny Rodgers and Arthur Treachers (and now here's the dear boy, himself, MEERRRVIN!)...(this place had all the food groups...vegetables, vitamins, starch, hypocondriacs...who needs more?)

            Nu? They couldn't keep the Miami Subs with these good combination of restaurants and just moved onto the nextdoor property, a furniture store that already is vacating? Nice if we had ALL opportunities. Not knock the Miami sub down to put in a Ft. Lauderdale place!

            Pollo Tropical
            77 US Highway 1, Edison, NJ 08817

            2 Replies
            1. re: MoxieBoy

              Well, I'm crazy, I went to Pollo Tropical on their first day of business. It was slammed! Took us 20 minutes to get a table for 2 adults and a baby. (After we were seated, the wait was one hour!)

              Basically, they give you a table.. then you go up and order your food (which took at least another 10 minutes), then they bring the food to your table. A mix of fast food and table service. Not sure it works that well. Maybe when it's not wall to wall people.

              There's a little serve-yourself condiment bar with such choices as lime juice, onions, guava BBQ sauce (quite good), regular BBQ sauce, curry mustard sauce, garlic/cliantro sauce, a couple of salsas (one mild, one hot), and a few other offerings.

              I had the trio combo.. 1/4 chicken, pulled pork, ribs. Asked for thigh/leg, got breast & wing. Oh well, wasn't about to send it back, too much confusion already, plus hungry baby. Oh, plus I'm a slow eater.. according to my wife, anyway. :)

              LOVED the chicken. Marinated meat, great skin, just great flavor. Wife thought it was "pedestrian". Pulled pork was the highlight of the dish. Small mound, not at all like southern style pulled pork, but really delicious. Very tender, most, and flavorful. Ribs were good, but not best I've ever had.

              Cole slaw - best I've ever had. Sweet and creamy. Would go back for the cole slaw alone.

              They didn't have the boiled yucca with mojo sauce.. maybe next time?

              Balsamic tomatoes - Excellent. Tasted like Italian basil tomato salad.

              Tres Leches (dessert). Loved it. Finally somewhere around here I can get this.

              Took the guava cheesecake home.. haven't tried it yet. Unfortunately, no key lime pie on their menu.

              Fountain drink choices were Pepsi products.. seems to be a trend these days.. getting harder to find Coke products in restaurants, but I digress. At least they had fresh brewed unsweetened iced tea.

              Service was surprisingly good. The menu says not to tip, I gave the girl a few dollars anyway.

              I'll definitely be going back when the fervor dies down a bit. :)

              1. re: MarlboroMan

                Took the wife there this evening and as I expected it was packed. All the corporate honchos buzzing around like expectant parents wiping down the condiment island for the umpteenth time. servers still unsure and uneasy with the seating procedure as the floor managers hover over their shoulders whispering for them to smile, smile.
                I love sitting and watching the dynamics of a restaurant good and bad. This is a good restaurant with fresh, well seasoned,hearty portioned, fairly priced,Latin inspired fare.
                I ordered the spicy chicken,spare rib combo with yellow rice,black beans ,cole slaw.{Thanks Marlboro Man, it was quite good} and fried yucca.
                The wife had the half chicken with the balsamic tomatoes and boiled yucca.
                First the good, Service is fast if not quite efficient yet, Chicken is savory and well seasoned if a bit dry,black beans are decent,as was the boiled yucca and Balsamic tomatoes.
                The not so good,Ribs are just so so even with several trials of sauces which were IMHO was either too sweet or tasteless altogether,same goes for the salsas and the bottled hot sauce.Fried yucca had a strange prefab texture but the green sauce, while not PIO PIO's was pretty good.
                I think that after they work out the bugs,break in the grills,adjust the seasoning and tweek the condiments and salsas, Pollo Tropical will be a welcomed addition to East Brunswick's otherwise dismal dining lineup.