Eating at the new Pollo Tropical across from the UTSA Main Campus seemed like a good idea. I like to try new things every now and then.

Walking in, I was expecting to eat some sort of Mexican or Puerto Rican food, but I was completely baffled while reading the menu. They offer multiple choices of beef, pork and chicken with assorted sides that can be made into sandwiches, bowls or just a plate. However, the menu was hard to read and didn’t offer much information about the dishes.

I eventually decided to order a TropiChop, a bowl with your choice of rice, beans, protein and assorted toppings. I chose chicken with white rice, lettuce, sautéed peppers and onions on top with a side of the cilantro garlic and BBQ sauces.

When I ordered sautéed onions and peppers, I imagined eating caramelized, translucent and flavorful onions. What I got was a steaming mess of undercooked white-stringed grossness. Their chicken relied on its sauce for flavor.

Trying to find some comfort food, I also ordered a side of macaroni and cheese that tasted like cheap, processed American cheese. I ordered the sweet plantains for dessert, which were up to par, but they tasted as if they had sat in a warmer for a few hours.

The setup makes moving around uncomfortable – too many tables, not enough space. The staff was friendly, but when it became busy it was clear they were understaffed. There were many messy tables and only two people cleaning and serving food. Considering that the location is close to campus, they seem to be consistently busy.

I would not recommend eating at Pollo Tropical unless you know what you are ordering. The lack of understanding and flavor has made me not want to try Pollo Tropical again.

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