Note: As of December 2010, Hawaiian Tropic Zone is closed.
Regular readers will recall that my first visit to Hawaiian Tropic Zone left me with no burning desire to return. However, I managed to win a free dinner-for-two, so I paid one more visit. I invited my friend Kelly, who was eager to give it a try.
We started with the shrimp cocktail ($15) and the oysters ($13). You could fault HTZ for many things, but they know how to do justice to these raw-bar favorites.
Veal Chop with lemon caper butter sauce, green beans and almonds
They also did justice to a 16 Oz. Veal Chop ($39), with lemon caper butter sauce, though green beans were dull. Kelly was not quite as enamored with the bone-in rib steak, proving once again that steaks ordered outside of steakhouses are an invariably risky proposition.
We were plenty full already, but as the whole meal was comped, we went ahead and ordered dessert. Kelly had heard wonderful things about the doughnuts, so she tried that. They came in a paper bag (why?), but they were soft, warm, and delicious. I ordered David Burke’s Cheesecake Lollipops, a justly famous dessert he brought with him from davidburke & donatella.
We didn’t order wine, but we had cocktails. I especially liked the Espresso Martini (Van Gogh espresso vodka, Kaluha, chilled espresso).
When we arrived, they initially had us seated at a noisy table near the bar, where we could barely hear ourselves talk. They had no problem moving us (there’s a whole upstairs area, which was mostly empty), but insisted at first that I would need to close out the tab for the cocktail I had ordered at the original table. They must have realized how classless that was, and a few minutes later the new server said that the tab would transfer after all.
Aside from that, the service was just fine, but I could have done without being addressed as “sweetie” or “honey” by the server. (She called Kelly that, too.)
Hawaiian Tropic Zone isn’t on my list of restaurants to return to. You’re never going to go too far wrong with a David Burke menu, but there are far more pleasant ways to spend an evening. We weren’t paying, but had it been on our dime, dinner would have been $203 including tax, before tip.
Hawaiian Tropic Zone (729 Seventh Avenue at 49th Street, Theater District)
Ambiance: Unpleasant, aside from the bikinis