I prefer not to review a restaurant until it’s been open a few weeks, but Tulio’s, the latest place to occupy the corner of Wilton Dr. and 21st. Ct. had folks waiting for it to open for months.
You’ve got to admire a place that has the guts to open in the middle of a pandemic. It seems the community isn’t worried about venturing out to try the newest place in town. We stopped by on a Tuesday night at 6:30 and were lucky enough to snag the last outdoor table, soon after opening night.
If Tulio’s operates this smoothly after only being open for a couple of weeks, I think that they’re ready for their close-up, Mr. DeMille. We were greeted warmly the minute we approached the host station. When we requested an outdoor table, we were warned there would be a slight lag in service because they had just seated several tables outside.
Our waiter, Tyler, approached our table less than five minutes later. He pointed out the QR link for the menu and as we perused the bill of fare on our phones we took in the colorful atmosphere.
We decided to start with a simple order of chips and salsa. I know it’s only $3, but it irks me when places charge for something that is given gratis at most other places. Still, the chips were crisp and hot, and the salsa fresh. Another appetizer option is an impressive platter of nachos; certainly enough for four to six as an appetizer or two as an entrée. It’s $12, $5-$8 more if you add chicken, steak, or shrimp. Other starter options include chicken lettuce wraps, chicken taquitos, and an unusual ceviche with red sauce.
When a place includes a specific dish in its name, you’d very well better try it, so we both decided to order tacos as our entrée. I selected a chorizo taco, filled to the brim with spicy pork sausage, onions, and cilantro. An al pastor taco came brimming with slow-cooked pork with onions, cilantro, and pineapple. Carne asada rounded out my trio with tender grilled slices of steak topped with pickled onion, pico di gallo, and an avocado-jalapeno crema.
My pescatarian husband was happy to see so many choices for him. Blackened shrimp combined with lettuce and chipotle mayo managed to have the shrimp seared yet tender. Breaded grouper, adorned with pickled onions and the same avocado-jalapeno crema that accompanied my carne asada, was delish. The biggest surprise was the delicious crispy cauliflower with toppings similar to the other tacos. Other taco options include ground beef, portobello mushroom, chicken, and carnitas.
A section of the menu labeled “Not Tacos” showcases a quesadilla, burrito, enchiladas, fajitas, and for those searching for something healthy, a kale salad. Let’s face it: one of the enticements about going to a Mexican restaurant is to enjoy the cocktails. At Tulio’s, there are six up-scale versions of margaritas in addition to the house blend. There are also two sangria options. They were out of the intriguing Citrus Ginger concoction on the night of my visit, I might have to return just to sample that.
For those that prefer beer with their Mexican food, there’s a vast array of domestic and imported brews on tap and in bottles and cans. Alcohol-free drink options include a variety of Mexican sodas (although none were available on that night).
Folks have been waiting years for a good Mexican restaurant to open in Wilton Manors and Tulio’s seems fit to fill that role.
Tulio’s Tacos and Tequila
2150 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors