Bar Tulix, review: A haven for seafood lovers — and vegans — in NYC’s bustling SoHo

NOTThe SoHo district of New York has far too many choices for diners and drinkers. You can wander through its grid of local vibes, light bulb bars and small independent restaurants for hours without deciding where to eat. So a local suggestion for a newcomer is always welcome — and ours led us to Bar Tulix, a sultry, dimly lit striped canopy number on West Houston.

Our first impression was of a distinct party vibe – we sipped superlative frozen margaritas in a dining room crowded with pals dipping tortillas from generous plates to share. The music was retro, early 2000s R’n’B and hip hop (countless “Oh my god, remember this one?” time travel moments). A young staff are fun and chatty, and told us about the very long and varied menu.

We dug what, looking around, seemed to be a fan favorite – the Baja Guac. A rustic bowl of mashed avocado, sour cream, salsa verde and cilantro, it’s spiced up with a drizzle of oil made with epazote, a native Mexican herb used as a variegated tonic in the old country. Dipping crispy, palm-sized tortillas in this creamy chili creation while enjoying a margarita set the chilly tone of the night, as we pared back what looked most interesting.

The focus here is unmistakably seafood, some of it in the form of a “raw sea bass” section that works through oysters, sashimi and aguachile, all made tangy with herbs and condiments. mexicans. There’s even a caviar-coated seafood platter. In addition to sizzled tuna and shrimp tostaditos, a large plate of salmon and branzino, and octopus with red lentils, romesco sauce and paprika.

We opt for the Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, a savory selection of large shrimp served in a pool of spicy habanero mayonnaise; and tuna tostaditos with radish and hibiscus where the freshness of the fish is unfortunately drowned out by both the radish and a pinch of dry spices. We’re also not sure about the clam toast, which staff tout as a particular specialty – chubby slices of umami-rich clams were packed onto a big piece of toast, but the overwhelming taste is too salty for the taste. one of us.

Vegetarians and vegans will appreciate the inclusion of vegetarian tacos – we try the excellent Roasted Carrots with Almond-Coconut Salsa, but there’s also an asparagus version. Paired with the heirloom tomato starter and Baja Guac, there’s a nice little selection of non-meat and fish treats. We let ourselves be tempted by the Veracruz salmon, dressed with olives, capers and tarragon, but we quickly fill up on starters and generous portions all around.

Ultimately, Bar Tulix needs to improve its execution somewhat in order to compete with the best Mexican restaurants in Manhattan – this is a city of incredible Latin American flavors, served in styles ranging from rustic to upscale. But seafood and veggie lovers, as well as anyone looking for lighter plates than the classic melted cheese and oil dishes, will love this restaurant’s creative, coastal twist on what we know of this cuisine. . And we lingered late with our cocktails, soaking up the music and the local crowd. If you want atmosphere, this is the place to be.

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