Golden Spoons Review: Agave Grill

| 26/07/2016 | 11 Comments

CNS Business(CNS Foodie): Located off the Butterfield Roundabout and North Sound Road, you will find a quaint, cozy cantina-sharing Mexican cuisine and techniques, the only Agaveria in the Caribbean and sharp concept cocktails from a New York cocktail expert at the one and only, Agave Grill. Closed on Sundays, Agave shares the love of all things Mexican from 11am to 9pm Monday-Wednesday and until 10pm Thursday-Saturday.

My colleague and I had a break in our day and decided to head over for a quick lunch … and cheeky margarita – how can I not? I’ve been coming here for years; it’s always consistent and never disappoints.

This time, however, my margarita was subpar and unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for another to have it rectified. The taste was bland and it just seemed watered down, not like they usually are (the classic $8.25). If I’d had time, I would have tried to design my own for an additional $3.25.

The concept of the Agaveria is their exclusive Mexican spirits programme, offering spirits produced from the agave plant from various regions of Mexico. The staff is truly knowledgeable with all the spirits, so if time permits and it’s something that interests you, I suggest you carve out a few hours to explore the world of Agave’s cocktail list (prices range from $8.25-10.00).

The guacamole is always fresh and flavourful with an array of tortilla chips served with it ($9.50). I wish the serving was just a bit more generous or that they offered a combo of guacamole and pico de gallo instead of having to order a la carte, and then you’re up to $16.25 just for chips and dip.

The portion on the locally caught tuna ceviche is very generous, even when sharing, and the balance of lime and arugula make it seem as if you ordered an entrée salad, bursting with zest! It’s hard not to order this every time we go, and if available, they offer wahoo, mahi mahi or snapper as well. ($$$) market price.

We then tried a few tacos. It’s said on the Agave brochure that “Time is our secret ingredient” and their meats are marinated, smoked then slow cooked. This is evident as the Barbacoa Slow Tacos ($9.50) and the Smoked Short Rib ($8.00) were both tender and juicy and full of flavor.

The corn tortillas are handmade and stand up to the juices running from the meat. The Smoked Short Rib tacos (2 per order) have toasted pumpkin seeds, caramelized onion and shredded radish – an absolute perfect combination of textures and flavors. This one was my favorite.

Inside the Barbacoa tacos was marinated pork (or beef, your choice), which is slowly barbequed and smoked. You can taste the smokiness and the flavor was good, but not as jazzed about it as our other option.

After the tacos, ceviche and guacamole, we were stuffed and satisfied and the only drawback was having to go back to the office.

I would like to point out the cinnamon sugared churros with chocolate hazelnut sauce are incredible (big hit with the little ones), but I wish they would offer a kids’ menu.

Even though it’s a small place, sometimes you can’t leave the kids at home so it would be great to not pay $10.00 for a simple cheese quesadilla for a toddler who doesn’t even require any condiments; that seems a bit much. I’m not saying they need to reinvent the wheel here and go all out for kids, but just realize that a few simple gestures go a long way with families.

Agave service has always been friendly and fun in my experience, and I appreciate that. The art on the walls, the overall vibe is very warm and inviting. The tacos may seem small for the price, but we always seem to leave by practically rolling out the door from being so full. I just need to go back and correct that lousy margarita I had.

No gratuity added to bill, except for parties of six or more.

Agave Grill website

Readers’ ratings for Agave Grill:

Category: Golden Spoons Review, Good Food. Bad Food.

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We've been twice and have been underwhelmed. It's incredibly tiny and uncomfortable, with a vague dishwater smell to the entire joint. Perhaps it was the margaritas--as the reviewer stated they are very subpar. The food itself was decent and our server friendly (when we saw her, as she was totally overwhelmed with too many tables). All in all I'd give it a mediocre rating at best. Ahead of C&M (not hard) but behind Casa 43 in our tiny island's Mexican (ish) food chain.

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  2. Rod Barnett says:

    Not sure if we went to the same place that the reviewer did. While the staff were friendly and knowledgable, the place is tiny with tables and chairs crammed together along the walls. The drinks, to us had hardly no flavor, either juice or liquor, and even had so little ice, it was melted after only about 5 minutes. The carefully prepared tacos were tasty, accept there was hardly any filling in them. The short rib tacos were a joke. When served, I thought they were a chef's complimentary sample of something. They turned out to be a three inch round soft sell taco. About two bites for eight bucks, perhaps there is lots of "care" in their food prep but not much value as far as I can see.

    I must admit I can't see how you could make a profit in this tiny place situated behind a storage container across from Thompson's, so I give them credit and a big "A+" for courage in trying to succeed in a hole in the wall location. Perhaps the difference in impressions was we went for dinner and the reviewer went for lunch. 2 people, three taco selections, one side, and two drinks; $62.00 tip included.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Agave Grill is one of my favourite restaurants too but don't go as often as I would like as it it too small and I am very impatient. The wet chicken enchiladas are amazing and I have spent many a night drinking the potent cocktails. Ervin is a gracious host

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Tacos Al Pastor..that's how you know you are eating at a real Mexican restaurant and not some Tex-Mex restaurant. Agave Grill has it and it was great. Love this place.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Agave has always been very innovative.Food is fresh and made with intention and care related to ingredients and technique.

    Their cocktails out do most of the hype out there. The fact they use Tequila Ocho as their house pour one of the most complex agave forward tequilas may explain the reviewers view. Research Oco.

    Harse lime powdered bar mixed Cuervo or Sauza margs are what you get in many places that have no clue about tequila or really are just looking at profit and not what tequila is used and how a classic marg should be made. Ask first what's in your marg. Tourists be wary of your plastic cup.or paid off fake Mexican wells.that pour whatever is the cheapest tequila.

    If in doubt a make Tommy"s Marg.
    Even portions 1 oz each
    Tequila Ocho-Coinreau-Fresh Cayman squeezed lime juice.... a bit ofagave syrup.
    Shake with ice. Strain in a chilled glass or on the rocks. Salt the rim.

    Reviewer: Go back and get your marg right. Try 3 and see how weak they are. Have seen many happy Agave customers walk out lookimg happy on a Sat afternoon.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Carlos and Martin's is good???? Wow...this person has no taste buds. A philipino/tex-mex restaurant compared to two highly qualified chef owned and operated mexican resturants....wow.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    "I’ve been coming here for years; it’s always consistent and never disappoints." - I somewhat feel that this means that the whole of your review is biased as you have been going there for years and already like the place. I tend think a review of a restaurant should be done by someone who hasn't been before or at least not many times. My 2 cents.

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    • Anonymous says:

      if it was biased, I would have left out the fact that the margarita was bad and they charge too much for kids items. Just because they are consistent, doesn't mean I can't distinguish if something wasn't perfect.
      - CNS Food Reviewer

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    • Anonymous says:

      We live on a tiny island so I imagine it would be very difficult to find a place where every reviewer has not already eaten.

      I really like the food at Agave Grill but have not gone for a long time as I find the restaurant way too small and crowded. Any time that I've been there for lunch we had to wait for a table and then were crammed in elbow to elbow. Service was generally good but I found the food usually takes a bit long.

      Overall, I'd rather eat at Carlos & Martin's. I like the food there much better than Casa 43 but not as much as Agave. But - I find I get better value at C&M and it is way more comfortable.

      Has Copper Falls been reviewed yet? That's the best restaurant on this island by far, IMO.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Always a wonderful time and the food is delicious.

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