Missing Xilonen? This coastal Mexican spot is its new SoHo successor

The Mexican vegan spot is officially closed, but its delicious legacy lives on in Bar Tulix.

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
A spread of dishes at Bar Tulix
Alexander SteinA spread of dishes at Bar Tulix

New York is in its prime for regional Mexican fare. With the sad closure of one excellent spot, Brooklyn's Xilonen, a short-lived all-day plant-based Mexican cafe, comes a new must-try success. Bar Tulix, a new coastal Mexican restaurant, is slated to open next week in SoHo at 25 W. Houston St. 

Run by Chef Justin Bazdarich (of Oxomoco and Xilonen) and restaurateur John McDonald of Mercer Street Hospitality, Bar Tulix will offer a seafood-forward menu influenced by dishes commonly found on the coasts of Mexico up through California. Think crudos, tostadas and more. 

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The menu begins with bar snacks like winter citrus with chili, lime, olive oil and salt; smoked shrimp chicharron; and farmers market escabeche. Raw courses will include oysters with a mezcal mignonette, chile puya oil, and crunch; salsa macha encrusted tuna with avocado puree, soy ponzu, and guajillo oil; and slivered hamachi with tequila coco-pina broth, apple jicama jalapeno slaw, and lime. And that's not even the beginning!

Chef Justin Bazdarich in the kitchen at Bar Tulix
Chef Justin Bazdarich in the kitchen at Bar TulixAlexander Stein

Bar Tulix's starters include a Sonoran crisp with flour tortilla, herbed queso, quesillo and queso fresco; Tulix Caesar with cheese crunch and anchovies; tostada mixta with lobster, octopus, shrimp, clamato and cilantro; and clam toast with monopolio garlic ancho butter broth. Mains include masa-encrusted red Branzino with red sauce; lobster cockle with mezcal chili butter, carrots, fine herbs and brioche; octopus with fried potatoes, romesco, celery salsa and verde; and short Rib arrachera with salsa negra, black bean and flour tortillas. Prepare to feast. 

And to accompany that feast is a beverage program with an extensive selection of tequila, mezcal and sotol. Helmed by general manager Trey Bliss (previously of Xilonen, Sunday in Brooklyn and Karasu), Bar Tulix's signature cocktails are playful spins on the classics, like the Spicy Lady with Milagro blanco, Vida mezcal, cayenne, licor de elote and hibiscus. Craft beer from Mexico and wines from around the world 

Bar Tulix's 65-seat dining room has a major SoHo vibe. Cozy jewel-toned booths juxtaposed by high gloss black walls displaying an eccentric art collection set the mood for a night of excellent food, drinks and conversation. 

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