Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tropika: New Snack Place on Roosevelt

I don't yet understand Tropika Grill & Cafe on Roosevelt between 82nd and 83rd. The menu is in English and Spanish, and all over the place. They have fried snacks like plantains, yuca, sweet potato fries, corn balls, and onion rings. And then there are fried wontons and satay. Then Japanese beef curry and chicken teriyaki. Coconut chicken and buffalo wings. And a whole section of flavored grilled corn. All over the place and I can't wait to try it all. What I did try was shave ice because of course they also have tapioca drinks, smoothies, and shave ice. Perfect for such a humid day.
One shaved ice with four toppings for $3.99. Aside from syrup (passion fruit) and condensed milk, the four toppings I chose were chopped mango (super soft and sweet) boba (tapioca balls, these had a thin shell that burst) jelly (colorful and gelatinous but no flavor) and lychee jelly (colorful, gelatinous, and lychee flavor). I ate half there. The place was mostly empty but I saw at least four people working there, all extremely friendly, all very happy to have customers. They would pass by occasionally and ask me how I was doing. I was great! They, it turns out, have been open for seven days. They are Malaysian/Indonesian. They are very excited to get people in the store. They want everyone to try their special corn. They are not a chain. I am very happy to have them in the neighborhood. I took the rest to go, and the counter lady insisted on adding extra syrup and packing it up for me. Who am I to say no to that? I am now eating my mostly melted ice while writing this and watching Mexico vs. France in the World Cup. It is half time. 0-0. I wouldn't normally watch soccer by myself, but I am texting the play-by-play to José at work. Not the worst way to spend the afternoon.
Viva Mexico!

Tropika Grill & Cafe
82-18 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights

And they won 2-0!!! Maybe I should watch futbol while eating shave ice more often.


  1. I feel like I've walked past this. Is the sign a bright lime green? I think the logo' orange? Will definitely have to check this out!

  2. Oh Yum! The perfect summer treat! You should visit the Flushing Mall too!

  3. When I told the fiance about Tropika he got all excited, so that's where we'll be going for dinner tonight. Will have to have a shave ice or something cool and sweet for dessert!

  4. @alterna, I think it's a green sign. Please report back afterwards, I'd love to hear what you ordered.
    @thoughtfulplate, I am slowly, very slowly, making my way towards Flushing.

  5. Had a blast last night, pictures to come. My fiance LOVED IT!

    Seems they opened the about a week ago, so they asked us a lot of questions about the food, were really nice and even gave us samples!! We got chicken teriyaki (they make their own teriyaki sauce!!) and grilled spicy shrimp (could be a little hotter, but shrimp is pretty delicate so it might be overkill).

    I got a mango bubble tea, really good, and they gave us a sample of their papaya shake, very tasty. We got yuca fries, really, really good, with mango mayo. Then we got an Asian BBQ corn (I was barely able to get a bite, the fiance was holding onto it for dear life). He got spicy pork and I got spicy beef. I liked the texture of the spicy pork (which was a little spicy), but I liked the spicy beef sauce (definitely hotter but I found the beef really tough and stringy). The fried rice with it was pretty good, I think they added a beef base or something like that, very eartly.

    After all those carbs, we had to have shave ice. I got strawberry and blueberry syrup, strawberry jam, lychee, taro and mango. The fiance got peach and mango syrup, kiwi, mango, strawberry jam and lychee. We felt like we were 6-years old again, and with a very sugary, very tasty snowball!!

  6. Wow! You definitely got a nice assortment of things. I had the same issue (I got a spicy corn and it wasn't really spicy) but it didn't really matter because it had a good flavor. I'm glad that you guys had fun there! It's nice to have something new and different in the neighborhood. Thanks for the report, it's great. I will go back soon to try more things.

  7. I walk by this store front every day. This space seems to turn over a lot. It looks almost exactly the same now, outside and inside, as the previous restaurant. The only difference is the banner with the new name. A lot of retail spaces in Jackson Heights open and close within a few months, and then open again as the same store but with a different name. I wonder if restaurants are now doing the same thing.

    I may try it, based on the recommendations here. It sounds like the menu may have changed. But unlocking the door and putting up new banner isn't really enough to attract my attention anymore. They have to actually show me that something has changed.

  8. Norm- this new place is definitely different than the previous Colombian and maybe Mexican restaurants that were there before. It's worth a try in my opinion because it's fun and cute and the workers inside are enthusiastic and excited to be there.

  9. i walked past here recently, and it seemed the entire original menu is down. do you know what happened? i really liked the friendly staff, and their smoothies were delicious. i wasn't such a fan of the chicken teriyaki, but i was willing to try more things. they once had breakfast items listed on the side wall, too, but now in the mornings the place is completely closed?
    just wondering if something happened that i was unaware of. thanks!