Agave is one of 2 restaurants, one in Hartford and one in Southington, run by the Hartford Restaurant Group. I ate at the Southington location last night and was disappointed by the food. Agave’s menu offered typical tex-mex, but tries to add new creations with a Mexican flavor. The restaurant’s name comes from the blue agave plant used to make authentic Tequila. There are murals depicting agave field harvesting decorating the restaurant walls. This might be a clue about the restaurant's forté which certainly isn’t it’s food.
The meal started off well for me when our server made guacamole fresh at our table in a big green mortar and pestle bowl. I think its hard to mess up guacamole and though ours tasted great to me, one of my companions got large chunks of raw onion in her scoops. The ubiquitous baskets of chips were salty, which I liked, but tasted like they were out of a bag. If McDonalds can fry their own french-fries then how hard is it for a Mexican place to fry its own corn tortilla chips?
Skipping the appetizers, I had the soft fish tacos as a main course. They were in a flour tortilla, not corn, and were served covered with a citrus salsa that I can only try to describe. The citrus was bitter and the whole thing tasted like vinegar. It kind of tastes like some one mixed cream and tequila and poured it over your fish. We sent this back and got the Lobster Enchiladas instead. These came covered in a white jack cheese and flanked on each side with a somber pile of rice and beans. The cheese was overwhelming and bland. The lobster, once we found a piece, tasted slightly fishy and frozen . It could be fresh as the menu claimed but it tasted off. A friend got the Tilapia en Tortilla, which I foolishly though was tilapia fish wrapped in a flour or corn tortilla. Instead what we got was a fish fried in a breading made of crumbed tortilla bits. This was actually the best thing we had. The fish was tender and not overcooked and tasted ok. The breading was a little weird but it didn’t ruin the fish.
I really like good Mexican food, even Americanized tex-mex food. I grew up eating it in California, and I think there are also many places in CT to get really great tex-mex food but Agave is not one of them.