The Dish: Pollo Tropical has new dining concept

Pollo Tropical's fried yucca, with cilantro mayo dipping sauce.

Pollo Tropical's fried yucca, with cilantro mayo dipping sauce.

Pollo Tropical - East Naples

3777 U.S. 41 East, Naples, FL

— Pollo Tropical at 3777 U.S. 41 E., Naples, has changed its concept from fast food to fast casual. Now food is served on real plates and silverware with choices on how diners can place their orders and a number of new dishes.

The drive-through is still available, but if you decide to eat inside you have the choice of placing your order with a runner or at the counter; both will be delivered to your table. This new service, according to the company, gives diners time to settle in and make themselves comfortable, before devouring the savory dishes. There’s now free WiFi and the distraction of the art work of “famous chickens” on the wall.

Everything on the menu is fresh-made, according to the company. Sizzling fajitas and larger side dishes are some of the new choices. Kids can enjoy the mac ‘n cheese and mashed potatoes and brown rice is an alternative side. There’s also a kickier new spicy sauce or customized dinners in a TropiChop Bowl. Choices include chicken, pork or steak and rice and beans. There’s also a salsa bar where diners can make their own salsas.

Prices for kids meals are $4.95. The restaurants now also offer sangria, wine and beer. Desserts include a flan, cheesecake, tres leches cake, key lime pie or soft-serve and get your caffeine with an espresso, latte or cappuccino.

Information: 417-2708

Pollo Tropical’s executive chef gave us this generic recipe:

Fried yucca, with cilantro mayo dipping sauce

Ingredients for fries

3 yuccas, peeled and cut into 1-inch wide sticks

Soy based vegetable oil for frying, enough to cover cut yucca in a deep skillet

Dipping sauce ingredients

Handful fresh cilantro, cut

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

4 ounces mayonnaise

Preparation of fries

■ Heat oil to 345-365 degrees in a deep skillet.

■ Add yuca sticks in batches to the oil and fry until golden brown and soft. Until soft and golden in color.

Dipping sauce preparation

■ In a medium bowl mix mayonnaise, cilantro and garlic.

■ Add salt and pepper and other spices if desired and mix thoroughly.

■ Serve with hot, fried yucca sticks.

■ Serves four.

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