One might leave Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar, which was named this year's best new restaurant north of Boston by Boston Magazine, with some sense of the broad scope of Mexican cuisine, geography, and culture. That epiphany might come from the selection of 180 tequilas, which slip down in shots, release bell peals of clicking ice in glasses, or blend with lime in thick margaritas rimmed with salt. Chef Brian Roche's tantalizing menu also parades traditional Mexican ingredients, though they are tangled into surprising configurations. Slow-roasted lobster pairs with chorizo-infused corn, and jicama slaw lends an unexpected textural bite to mahi mahi tacos. Chicharrones—time-tested fried pork rinds—cut the sweetness of roasted duck with pineapple and chocolate-kissed mole sauce.
Red chandeliers glow, bringing to life the colors of chipotle peppers on plates at plush black booth seating, all beneath red wallpaper. In the tequila lounge, ample couches create a circle around red, candlelit tables for resting a glass of sangria or a mojito muddled with strawberries or cucumber. A row of inset shadowboxes displays the colorful lucha libre masks typically used in overblown battles and attempts to go out in public without being recognized as Kevin Bacon.