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The moment you walk inside Tahona Tequila Bistro, 1035 Pearl St., you are immediately embraced by a feeling of warmth. It is as though your internal temperature rises a couple of degrees.
Jazzy Mexican-flavored music pulses in the background, and funky agave cactus paintings adorn walls of warm muted colors. The bar sits next to the front of the restaurant’s open-air storefront and is framed by a white stucco arch lined with shelves of artisan tequilas, inviting the casual passerby in for a freshly squeezed lime Margarita.
Complementing the bar is the dining room, which extends from the back of the dimly lit romantic interior all the way out onto the sidewalk where diners can enjoy excellent people watching.
A bubbly hostess promptly seated my girlfriend and me next to the open-air storefront. Throngs of disappointed CU football fans from the CSU game, middle-aged Boulderites and the occasional transvestite strolled by or stopped to check out the menu as we dined in the cool breeze of the late summer evening.
Water was served to us from an old tequila bottle as we perused the extensive drink menu. A friendly, knowledgeable waiter was with us within minutes, explaining the specials and taking our drink order. He informed us that 85 types of tequila were featured at the bar.
We ordered two House Silver Margaritas made with Herradura Blanco tequila. We also ordered the appetizer special of chorizo and cheese-stuffed mission figs, made with homemade chorizo.
Service was quick. The margaritas were presented in blue salt-rimmed thick frosted glasses that evoked the artisans of Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. They tasted great, providing a tart and smooth flavor that was not overly sweet.
The figs were presented with fresh greens on a square white plate drizzled with a sweet fig wine sauce. Their taste was exquisite – sweetness blending into spice. The only thing the appetizer did its job well: we were hungry for the main course.
For the entree I ordered the lamb barbacoa special, slow braised with cipollini onions, epazote (Mexican oregano), cilantro and carrots served with fried green tomatoes and goat cheese whipped potatoes. The presentation was very artfully done, and again the food was excellent.
The meat was tender, the tomatoes provided a tangy flavor and the potatoes and onion counterbalanced the intense flavors with a mild flavor of their own.
We finished the meal with a Colorado peach jam bread pudding, and I was again completely satisfied. The check was an extremely reasonable $55, which is hard to beat for a nice romantic night out on the town in Boulder.
Every great artist has to start with a basic theme or idea, whether it be painting, writing or running an excellent restaurant. When asked what Tahona was trying to accomplish with their cuisine, co-owner Mara Soutiere replied, “We are offering traditional Mexican and Yucatan cuisine with a contemporary twist.”
Everyone involved with this establishment should be proud, as their restaurant more than accomplishes this task and may be one of the best in Boulder in its price range. Like a good tequila shot, it goes down smooth and will leave a nice spicy bite in the back of your throat that will leave you asking the bartender for another.