Tropics Restaurant and Piano Bar in Wilton Manors, a predominantly gay area of Fort Lauderdale, serves some pretty decent food. And after you eat, you can enjoy some live music with a primarily male, somewhat older crowd. But my friend Tommy and I went here for dinner recently, mostly to eat dinner. Amazing. What really surprised us is that the food was actually quite good.
We arrived for a slightly early dinner on Saturday night and were quickly shown to a table. Our waiter, Mateo, promptly appeared and took our drink order--iced tea for both of us. We also ordered an appetizer, the Spinach Artichoke Dip. After a bit, we also placed our dinner orders and in the meantime, chomped down on the fresh dinner rolls.
Eventually our salad arrived, but we enquired about the the Spinach Artichoke dip. Mateo came clean, he had plum forgot about it! Oops! However, he promised to quickly bring out one and to take it off our bill. We acquiesced and it did arrive shortly after--and did not appear on our bill. Though i did not take a picture, it was very good. A bread bowl was hollowed out and it was filled with the dip, a mixture of a lot of spinach with garlic, artichokes, and chhese. It was delicious, though in order to enjoy it, you had to destroy the vessel--a few pieces of toast or bruschetta on the side would have been nice. Nonetheless, it was a very nice appetizer. The portion was huge, too--more suited for a group of four or more. But still very tasty. I appreciated the fact that spinach predominated, and not some cheesy/creamy sauce. It gave it a nice, fresh flavor.
For his entree, Tommy ordered the Veal Parmigiana. Wow. A good sized portion of veal cutlet had been pounded thin, breaded and fried, and was covered with a tomato sauce and parmesan, then broiled. It was very, very good. The veal was moist and tender, the flavor of the parmesan came through loud and clear. This was a very good dish. It was accompanied by an angel hair pasta with a tomato sauce. Unfortunately, the pasta was kind of pasty--almost as if it had been sitting for a bit too long. So it was kind of "gloppy" or "clumpy." The taste was good, but the texture and consisitency screamed "I sat under a heat lamp too long"--the pasta had soaked up too much moisture and had become a bit pasty. However, the veal parmigiana itself was very good, and it was the star of this dish.
For my entree, I chose the stuffed chicken. A chicken cutlet had been pounded thin, then wrapped around a mixture of spinach, cheeses, a cream sauce, and perhaps a bit of bacon or prosciutto. This had then been breaded and deep fried, and was served over a mornay sauce. For sides, it came with a rice pilaf, and mixed veggies of green beans and carrot planks. An orchid graced the plate and made for a nice presentation. First, about the orchid. I inquired to find out if it was indeed edible. It was, and so I did. Tasty! The main part of the orchid, the body and stem, was crunchy and flavorful, the petals were a bit pasty with a sort of flour (pun intended) taste. The rice pilaf was good, somewhat typical and ordinary, but certainly good. The beans and carrots were cooked well done, that is, they were not crispy at all. Personally, I prefer my carrots and green beans to be a bit crispy. But I must admit, they were not over cooked or cooked to death either. They were quite tasty, just cooked more than I prefer. As for the star of the dish.... well, the chicken was jsut a bit dry, but when put with the overall dish--the creamy filling as well as the mornay it was served over, this was a very good dish. I was impressed. It had a nice cheesy and creamy flavor. It was very good.
We had a very nice meal here at Tropics. And yes, if you must know, after dinner we went over the the piano bar area and enjoyed the live enterainment for about an hour or so. The food was good, i was please. I'd eat here again. What more can I say?