I’ve been wanting to try Agave Grille for a few months, so I was excited to finally stop by this corner cantina with some friends on Friday night. When we arrived, the popular downtown restaurant was packed and its vibrant bar scene was already in full swing. Once seated, we ordered some drinks while perusing the dinner menu- and even though Agave is celebrated for its extensive tequila selection and killer margaritas, I opted for the white sangria and it was truly the best I’ve ever had.
But listen: If you take nothing else from this post, please try to remember this one delightful, glorious magic word:
Guacamole… Agave’s signature tableside guacamole.
This wonderful concoction was whipped up right in front of us. And so, entirely mesmerized, we observed the process until I was on the edge of my seat in tortuous anticipation of attacking the finished product. Needless to say, it was delicious, astoundingly fresh, and balanced with light flavors of cilantro and lime.
The menu offered an eclectic mix of Mexican favorites and unique signature recipes. I sampled the 3 course Taste of Hartford fixed menu, which was just fantastic. It included a winter salad comprised of baby spinach tossed in a warm bacon-mustard vinaigrette with diced apples, crispy jicama sticks, bacon lardoons, and topped with a poached egg- I was initially apprehensive of this unlikely flavor combination…but somehow the medley of tastes made complete sense at first bite.
Chicken Empanizato was served as the second course: Corn meal crusted chicken breast topped with a tomatillo avocado salsa served with arroz verde and roasted butternut squash. Again, this impressive flavor combo was so much more than the sum of its parts, and the butternut squash surprisingly made the meal complete.
I was a bit underwhelmed by the pineapple sorbet offered for dessert– not because I don’t love every sorbet imaginable (I do), but because it was drenched in a saccharine raspberry sauce that was painfully sugary.
Among my dining companions, other winning dishes included the chicken adobo enchiladas, vegetarian chili, and sugar cane skewered shrimp salad (Grilled sugar cane skewered shrimp over a salad of avocadoes, tomato, peppers, red onion and mixed greens, tossed with a tangy tomato vinaigrette).
The salad was gorgeous. You just can’t go wrong with those ingredients.
At our entire table, the spread’s only slight disappointments included the habanero pulled pork taco as well as the Coctel de Camarron. This latter dish, gulf shrimp served in a spicy tomato sangrita with avocado and red onion, tasted like someone snuck a cup of splenda into the sangrita.
I would certainly return to Agave, and I intend to come back. Creative dishes, great atmosphere, plentiful seating, and good service. And did I mention guacamole? Some of the menu’s dishes crept towards the expensive side of the spectrum (minus my Taste of Hartford deal) but the food is worth it. A very delicious experience, indeed. All in all, a pretty solid weekend.