Tropical Joe’s is not a sit-down restaurant, it is a mall cafeteria outlet, and it’s not an Eaton Centre mall, or even from a downtown joint, it’s from Gerrard Square, alongside KFC, El Greeko, [don’t get me started on the Spanish accent], Subway, and some others, but why does it stand out? Surely this isn’t a “Sliders” episode where in this universe I look for the most forgettable dives ever, could it?
Well I can assure you it’s not, as Tropical Joe’s has more to offer than bolted seating and a clichéd name. The food is restaurant quality, frankly begging the question why isn’t this at the Eaton Centre [maybe it’ll be in the second cafeteria]? The weird part is that it isn’t just one good thing and lots of bad dishes they have going on, it seems more like the exact opposite [the wolf in the fold are the flavorless vegetables, don’t bother with them]. That’s the summary, here’s the detail.
What most people would order is the Jerk Chicken, which is one of their best options. For a large meal, order the small jerk chicken on top of rice with a beef patty side, it is enough for lunch and take-out [thinking of the large chicken brings an image of a guy crying out ‘Godzilla!’]. The chicken is tender and delicious thigh meat in a generous amount of wonderful jerk rub.
Look out for bones though, they tend to get chopped up with the meat. It may sound an implausible task to actually cut bones, but that’s before you see their giant hacking cleavers, I even found knife slashes on a large bone once and it looked like the animal fought a dinosaur!
As for the rice and beef patty, they make great sides too, the rice has some spice and flavour, and the patty is tasty with some very good meat inside.
Now for the rotis. Rotis are anything wrapped up in a thick flatbread, even though in this case they had to be in round takeout boxes otherwise they’d fall apart. The stewed chicken with potatoes on the inside is fantastic, as is the curry chicken roti.
Both have the usual delectable sauces and fine ingredients, probably adding to a theory that most people in the food world, at all, would agree with, something is good, or it is bad, or it is great, or it is abysmal. This works for most things for that matter, building designs, scientific theories, books, cars, schools, movies [don’t give me any of that ‘good effects makes good movies’ nonsense Hollywood] and restaurants. Tropical Joe’s is no exception, and are just as recommendable as many places at the Eaton Centre.
The only other food item I can talk about are the drinks. At Joe’s, there are more than just Pepsi or another places Coca-Cola, there are Jamaican sodas. The ones we’ve had are pineapple flavour and champagne coke, and no, that’s not alcohol. It actually is a lot more like cream soda, I hate it. As for the pineapple, it is quite good, sweeter than the Mexican version of pineapple coke.
So, all in all, if you want to visit Gerrard Square, go to Tropical Joe’s, it is certainly better than most mall food, it’s also certainly better than most Jamaican restaurants there are too, so give it a shot!