Replacing a similar concept at the same location, The Tropics opened today in Kettering, becoming the go-to place for the thousands who visit nearby Fraze Pavilion every night for summer concerts. At a spot like this and with no competition, you might be afraid the results won’t be so great. You’d be wrong. This place was opened by longstanding Dayton restaurateurs, and it shows. The professionalism and technique they and their staff demonstrate in creating this concept make it a high quality experience, the kind I definitely hope is here to stay.
The food is outstanding as it is creative; the headlining dish is the “Prime Luau House Pork Chop,” a 12-ounce prime chop seared and topped with orange rind and a macadamia sauce. The grill on the pork chop is perfect, the flavors are subtle enough to make it a well-constructed dish. You’ll find several other classy items on the menu like this, such as a New York Strip and a number of burgers and sandwiches.
Also on the menu are a number of seafood specialties headlined by an almond salmon dish; a pan fried fresh salmon steak with toasted almonds and an Amandine sauce, it’s a real appreciation for the delicacy of the salmon, and I’d say it’s a great lighter cuisine with delicious flavors. The fish was a little drier than I would have preferred, and I also think it would have done well with some kind of bass flavor. Citrus seems to be the norm in this situation, but the fish itself provided the only real flavor.
The side dishes can’t be discounted either, starting with the house salad; it’s mixed with an expert balance of pineapple, feta cheese, red onion, olives and almonds and topped with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing with is light with an almost floral aroma and taste. From a baked sweet potato to wild rice and mixed vegetables, the side dishes are creative and delicious. You won’t have any trouble finding something to eat that you’ll enjoy.
A name like “The Tropics” might evoke thoughts of a tawdry bamboo-and-grass abundant interior, but make no mistake, this restaurant has all the taste of a classy upscale concept, with a neat and low-lit concept that does nothing to diminish the beautiful view of the pavilion and surrounding community. Altogether, The Tropics is off to a very fresh start; with a wide open interior bar and a very inviting porch, it’s got a great atmosphere, which is only improved by the professionalism and the passion in the staff. Look forward to making this place a regular stop in your summer nights out.
- The bar seats a substantial number of people, but if the weather is good then the patio has a substantial space as well.
- As far as atmosphere, I’d say the concept is refined enough to be considered for fine dining, but it’s also just fine for a casual crowd.
- Consider the house pork chop, the best item on the menu, for your first sampling of this place.