I’ve always associated Hawaiian Tropic Zone with bikinis and sexual harassment. (I was hoping to find a good story in the Post to prove my point, but instead of harassment per se, I pulled up this gem [still good, I think]: Uh, Ho! ‘Tropic Thunder’ War Over Nixed Bikini Gal. Also — journalists — I challenge you to craft a better lede: “Ho no, he didn’t!”)
So…I certainly never thought I’d actually dine at this establishment. And yet that is exactly what happened last week. I had to get out of my apartment (more on that later), but I also figured I shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to see what this place is actually like. Plus, my friend E said they have “totally amazing and yummy pupu platters” and that since it’s the 50th anniversary of Hawaii, there was supposed to be some stuff going on in Times Square. And, you know, I lived in Alaska for a year. I’m down with the non-contiguous states…
So. Hawaiian Tropic Zone, ho. (Yes, that was intentional. Blame the Post.)
Before you are seated, you have to show a bikini-clad hostess your ID to get a purple wristband that says, “HTZ” and proves you are of legal age. Then, another lady in a bikini shows you to your table and yet *another* woman in a bikini asks for your drink order. E was excited about a specific brand of tequila — or maybe rum? But I think it was tequila… — and there was some sort of mojito spinoff that she wanted. Our other companions ordered beer…but beer sort of felt, you know, boring. I couldn’t decide among the $12 cocktails, however…so I took the easy way out and mimicked my friend and ordered the special tequila mojito spinoff.
And…since she said it would be plenty of food for us, we ordered the pupu platter (yes, yes…I know)…and it came out with an open flame in the middle over which you could further grill your kebabs. That was one thing that surprised me — there was a lot more food on sticks than I expected. (Although I guess maybe that’s par for the course with a pupu platter?) And it really wasn’t as gaudy as I had hoped/feared. There *was* a bikini pageant in the middle of our meal in which the waitresses announced their names and hometowns and paraded by one by one…so that was definitely a first…and maybe kind of cringe-worthy. But, overall, the whole thing wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I’m not sure if I’ll race back there again anytime soon…but, overall, I guess I left feeling neutral.