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Last Update: Jun 29th, 2018
Tropical Krave (now closed)

Tropical Krave

222 E Commercial Blvd
Lauderdale By The Sea FL, 33308
954 769-0375
Overall Rating
1.5
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
05/11/2017

Details

Hours: Tue-Thu 11a-10p, Fri-Sat 11a-1a, Sun 10a-9p, Closed Monday
Attire: Casual
Parking: Private Spots
CC: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes

Pros

Something Different

Cons

Expensive
Weak Lunch Menu
Spiceless Food

Critic's Review

Tropical Krave opened last week, and given the lack of stuff going on other than boring Taco joints, I thought I'd try it out. My instincts told me it was a mistake; anyone who buys a turnkey restaurant at the start of tourist season and doesn't open until after season is over doesn't understand the game. So I had little confidence that these people were going to surprise me.

Just getting here is a disaster, as there's construction everywhere. Trying get get around the traffic jam I hit a freight train; you know, one of those trains with 600 cars that takes 15 minutes to pass? Finally I arrived; the first thing I noticed is that they don't even have a sign yet. Not even a temporary sign. Way to lose out on months of free advertising.

No hostess; I walked in and a dude invites me to sit at the bar. No thanks. I sat at a table and waited for someone to come over. The cushions are a bit too cushy; I felt a big lower than was comfortable for the table.

Considering how long they've been working on this place, I expected more to be different from the previous restaurant. They have the same wood tables; and the same storefront ambiance created when you're surrounded with windows. Lucky for them they face north so they don't get much direct sunlight. The only thing noticeable is that they seem to have distressed the wood (for more of an island experience). Apparently the advertised steel drum guys only work weekends or evenings.

Tropical Krave Interior

The bar is just as uninviting as before. They bought Kreepy Tiki's liquor license so you can get your island Rum drinks here. I asked for an iced tea. "We have a nice Hibiscus Tea", he beamed. Great, can I have some extra lemon?

Tropical Krave Bar

The tea cam out with lemon wheels, which look nice but can't be squeezed easily. The tea was delivered without sweeteners. I had to flag down the girl to get some sugar.

Krave Iced Tea w/Plastic Flower and Plastic Coconut

The tea tasted like regular iced tea; the only sign of hibiscus was the plastic flower on the straw. And the flower was attached to the straw so it couldn't be removed. Reusable straws; what a great idea. Also notice the plastic pineapples that adorn all of the tables. Classy stuff.

Caribbean music fills the airwaves; they have TVs but there' no programming on; just photos of the caribbean. The servers here aren't Caribbean; mine was a tattooed white chick.

My free appetizer coupon arrived the other day; months after I'd done the survey, so I had that, plus I wanted to try something else. The lunch menu didn't appeal to me; I was going to get the Jerk wings and I didn't want to get the Jerk Chicken also. I didn't know what a "pizza salad" was and I wasn't going to ask. So I ordered the Jamaican Pepper Shrimp. Prices are pretty high here; it's a good thing I had the coupon.

The girl came over to tell me the wings would be coming out shortly; shrimp takes like 3 minutes to cook so I wondered why they wouldn't come out first.

The wings came out in 12 minutes.

Tropical Krave Jerk Wings

They call these "Clay Oven Grilled Wings", which doesn't make sense to me. Do they have a grill in the oven? They didn't look grilled, and the sauce looked poured on rather then baked in; the way they serve wings in the bad sports bars where they just toss the wings in a sauce after they're cooked. The brown dipping sauce was nasty; was I supposed to dip the celery in it? I tried a wing without the sauce; they didn't taste too jerky. No heat at all. The point of jerk wings is the heat, preferably cooled with ranch or blue cheese dressing. I asked for another dressing, but they said they only had Caribbean sauces. He ended up giving me some caesar dressing, which didn't work well. I decided I didn't want to eat the wings so I asked my server to put them in a box to take home so as not to create a scene or hurt anyone's feelings.

The shrimp still weren't out so I went to the bathroom to wash the wing stuff off my hands. When I returned the shrimp had arrived.

Tropical Krave Jamaican Pepper Shrimp

Served in a plastic coconut shell with a disorganized heap of raw slaw. I bit into one of the shrimp; it was ICE cold to my surprise. It was also quite flimsy; so much so that felt compelled to ask the server girl "Is this cooked?". She said that it was, and then proceeded to ramble on about how they serve it cold. Great.

Cold is one thing, but the shrimp had no taste; when you order Jamaican Pepper Shrimp you expect some heat; scotch bonnets are VERY hot (and are also the key ingredient in Jerk seasoning), but these shrimp had none of the expected garlic taste or heat.

I've eaten and cooked enough shrimp in my day to know that these weren't cooked properly, so I felt uncomfortable eating them. She'd dropped off the check, so I dropped my card on the table and tried some of the other shrimp to see if there were all the same. But they all were under or un-cooked. I though to myself once again, why did it take 25 minutes to prepare this? The shrimp have to be pre-made. It took 25 minutes to fill a coconut shell with slaw?

Tropical Krave Undercooked Shrimp

No refill for my iced tea.

I grabbed the bag and flew out the door, never to return. I ended up throwing out the wings; I have too much good food in my fridge to try to fix these.

Conclusion

I wasn't going to try this place, but then I got the Free Appetizer coupon, months after I'd done the survey to get it. As usual, my instincts were right; the $14.85 I spent here was a waste of money. Their idea here is to try to present Caribbean cuisine beyond what you get at the Jerk Chicken places, but they don't even know how to utilize the basic spices. Jamaican Pepper shrimp is like a 4 ingredient dish; how can you screw that up? And why would anyone choose to serve them cold? It's like they don't understand food at all. When you're serving 5 cold shrimp as a dish you'd better have something edible to accompany it.

The only item reasonably priced is the lunch Jerk Chicken, which is a strange way to convince people that Caribbean cuisine is more than just Jerk Chicken. And how can you charge $17.25 for Jerk Chicken at 3:30 when you're charging $9.95 for the same dish from 12-3p?

The big problem here is that Aruba down the road has better food at lower prices, so if you were looking for the Caribbean experience would you come here or go to the big place with live music 7 days a week that's right on the beach?

Comment Policy Add Comment
Jamie
Reply
You read the online review and wonder why they closed. Then you find this.
Administrator
Reply
Closed. There's some nonsense about re-opening in Nov, but nobody closes for 5 months.
Joanne
Reply
Place is always dead, the food pictures look awful, yet they have so many 5 star ratings online. This is more like my impression! Terrible!
Clive
Reply
Easily the most suspicious reviews online. Surprised they're still open. It's going to be a long Summer for these people.
Sawyer
Reply
Lots of good reviews with scary looking food. Hard to believe that the dimwits down here actually like that stuff.
Rod
Reply
Notice that in every picture the place is empty except for the people taking the picture.

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