Madison's first and only Puerto Rican restaurant, Tropical Cuisine, is now open at 15 N. Broom St. That's around the corner from Maharani Indian restaurant and part of the Metropolitan Place retail strip. Plans for the restaurant have been in the works for at least a year; the official opening was July 9.
The dining room sports colorful murals of tropical scenes and a large map of Puerto Rico, and a dozen or so tables. Outside, the patio terrace for outdoor dining takes advantage of Broom Street's larger-than-usual setback.
The staff is happy to explain menu items such as the Jibarito (hee-bah-rito), like a regular sandwich except the filling (steak, pork or chicken) is placed between two plantains instead of bread slices.
It's also a good idea to get some instruction regarding the contents of the steam table, which holds a dozen or so options that make up the pick-three daily plate (your choice of one meat and two sides). Some options include a chicken stew, stewed pork, fried chicken, red beans and sausage, and yuca (a root vegetable similar to potato). Salads, stuffed plantains, turnovers, fritters and other appetizers fill out the menu.
There's also a kids menu, although nothing like usual cop-outs like PB&J or mac 'n' cheese appear; they're just smaller portions of the adult offerings.
The restaurant is owned by Darryl and Wanda Malone.