In what has been sort of a tradition for some of my colleagues the night before the opening of the CEDIA Expo, we try and find a good Mexican restaurant. When CEDIA was held in Indianapolis, it was easy - El Sol de Tala. With a large Mexican population in Denver, it was going to be a little more difficult to choose a good place. On the recommendation of the concierge at the Loews Denver, we settled on a hip little place called Tula.
Tula is in the Cherry Creek area, just around the corner from Duffy's Cherry Cricket (see map). The space Tula occupies has been sort of a "kiss of death" for three or four restaurants that inhabited the place before Tula. Even though there wasn't much of a crowd for a Wednesday night at Tula, I think they may make it longer than their predecessors.
Tula is owned by the husband and wife team of Chris and Kerri Douglas. The cuisine could safely be described as upscale modern Mexican. The decor is kind of a contemporary art-deco, yet sort of rustic at the same time. The main dining room is open and roomy. Even though there wasn't much of a crowd when we were in there, we could tell it could get loud if there was a large crowd in there.
Tula also has a very nice wine list, mainly from South America. My boss and the owner of Focal Loudspeakers, Jacques Mahul, were with us and they didn't want the margaritas, but wanted wine. The only problem is that they weren't familiar with South American wines. Jacques asked me to take a look at the wine list and pick something out that I was familiar with. Thankfully, I found a Chilean cabernet that I was somewhat familiar with. It turned out to be a good choice.
The main entrees that we had were interesting, to say the least. I had a seafood enchilada that was very good, and one of my colleagues got the smoked pork chops that he said were good, as well. Two of my colleagues next to me had a spicy burrito dish that was topped off with a hot pepper. It wasn't a habanero, but it was spicy, nonetheless. Some of us took a small bite out of the peppers and it was slugging back water and margaritas for the next 15 minutes.
Service at Tula was OK. It wasn't as polished as the service at an upscale restaurant should be, but it was tolerable.
I hope Tula stays in business. We were, by far, the reason the restaurant made money that evening. If we hadn't come in, they may have only had about 16 people in there all night. I'm guessing that it would take many more table turns than what they had in there that evening to make a go of the place. But I'd go back in a heartbeat.
(Update - Well, Tula didn't stay in business. The location must truly be haunted because after Tula closed up, a place called Juicy Lucy's opened in its place. Juicy Lucy's didn't last either. By my count, the property at 250 Josephine has claimed at least six restaurants over the years.