Has Anyone been to Tropical Chinese Lately?!
I had a disappointing meal at Tropical on Bird Road last night. In my experience, Sunday night is prime time for a Chinese restaurant -- definitely the night of the week to expect a Chinese restaurant's best offerings.
However, two of the three entrees my family and I ordered were "poor" to "inedible."
The Walnut Chicken was particularly bad because of the poor quality of the chicken. I have noticed at 2-3 different levels of quality of the chicken used at Chinese restaurants. There is a certain grade of chicken that I have come to expect at less expensive restaurants that tends to be very thin and irregularly shaped. The chicken in Tropical's Walnut Chicken last night was of this variety AND was tough and gamey.
The Vegetable Lo Mein had no Asian flavor to my palate. I expect some garlic and sesame flavors in good lo mein and this merely tasted like bland, oily pasta to me.
The Honey Garlic Chicken was good. However, I have had as good or better at many other restaurants. In my opinion, outside of overcooking the chicken, it would be difficult to mishandle this dish with its heavy breading and honey/garlic sauce working for you.
Tropical is a long drive for us. I am only able to go once or twice a year. I have always considered Tropical the best Chinese in South Florida and have recommended it to many others as such.
So, did I catch it on a bad night or have I picked up on a disappointing trend?
Tropical Chinese Restaurant
7991 Bird Rd, Miami, FL 33155
Just realized that last night was NOT Sunday night. It was Monday night (Labor Day). It just felt like Sunday night.
Was there in July and didn't notice any turn for the worse. However, I typically order some of the dim-sum and other dishes that I can't get at some of the other places that are closer to me so maybe they do better on some dishes than others.
I have been very disappointed by the honey chicken at the Canton chain lately. For years I thought they were the best, but lately both chicken and breading haven't been as good.
Just an aside - perhaps obvious so I apologize, but Sunday and Monday nights are, in my experience, terrible nights to go out to eat because there is a good chance that most of the ingredients were purchased almost a week before. Add to that a Holiday when nothing is likely to be fresh and you are taking your life in your hands. If you haven't read Kitchen Confidential yet, you might check it out. You'll be entertained.
I much prefer Toa Toa restaurant for their dimsum. They're located in Ft Lauderdale near Coral Springs (where there is a larger population of discerning Chinese community) and their chef was trained in Hong Kong. They've been open like 25 years or some ridiculous number like that.
Toa Toa Chinese Restaurant
4145 N.W. 88th Avenue, Sunrise, Florida 33351
I was there in June for dim sum on a Sunday afternoon. Hadn't been in years and wasn't thrilled. No hurry here to go back.