Hamptons Restaurant Review: Agave Bar and Mexican Grill

The first thing to greet me at Agave Bar and Mexican Grill was groovy tunes, followed closely by the lovely and attentive server, Gemma.

I came alone for this review but opted not to eat at the spacious, dark wood bar. I took a little table by the window to watch the cars go by. Vintage movie posters on the walls, an all-ages dinner crowd. I felt at home in my new surroundings.

I eat out a lot as a matter of profession…sometimes I surprise myself. Agave has been right there on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton, next to the Bridgehampton Commons for over a year now and last Thursday was my first visit. How had I overlooked this place? I was intrigued when I sampled their goods at the Dan’s Taste of Two Forks event last week – a boozy strawberry-cucumber margarita and a very tender pulled pork carnita.

Now I know just where to go for a food fix after a big day of shopping or during that in-between time when you’ve asked a clerk at T. J. Maxx to hold a pair of particularly expensive, particularly fabu suede wedges while you give them some thought…Agave is not glitzy, it’s food-focused. Hello, eight-dollar lunch specials!

(Attention Mexican food snobs: the hot sauce on the table at Agave is Cholula – so you can read on.)

I of course started with a frozen margarita. Ah, the hum of ice being crushed into submission at the bar…strawberry. Not too sweet. This place is serious about tequila. By my count there are over 75 on the menu. Plus there’s a comment card to fill out on every table – it asks for your suggestions for additional tequilas to be placed on their menu. Party on, Agave! Our course they offer sangria, pina coladas, mojitos and daiquiris plus beer and wine including a local fave, a Channing Daughters chardonnay.

I ordered a Tortilla Soup to start. Agave’s menu carries a warning that reads in part, “Our dishes tend to be spicy…” Right on. This soup does have some heat to it. The grilled chicken, avocado, shredded cheese, charred tomatoes, black beans and charred corn topped with Crispy Tortilla strips and sour cream combine into a heady mix. Delish.

I had to try an Agave Salad with its own rich mix – avocado slices, roasted pear, green apple, jicama, melon, lime, toasted pumpkin seeds, tortilla strips and bleu cheese over a bed of baby greens. Yum! I didn’t add the creamy citrus vinaigrette right away…but when I did, bang! A sharp shot o’ flavor! A touch of smoke, a hint of tang…I’m still thinking about that bleu cheese and melon and those roasted pears…

Owner Marcel seemed to be a man of few words. I assume he’s food obsessed. I was at Agave’s alone but felt welcome. Clearly Marcel does not fear bleu cheese or spices – I WANT TO GET INSIDE THIS MAN’S HEAD…

For my entrée I went with Enchiladas – Spinach & Mushroom. Of course this Mexican Grill has a full boat of enchiladas – cheese, chicken, shrimp, steak, shrimp & crab plus quesadillas, tacos, burritos and…for the less adventurous…burgers. Though the Blue Cheese Stuffed Sliders may well be worth a return trip for moi.

My three rolled corn tortillas were indeed “smothered” in sauce and melted cheese as the menu promised. Served with rice and beans on the side this is a dish that is simple in the best sense. The tortillas’ filling was so light it was almost delicate but decidedly savory and indeed filling. I had to have some of the tortillas wrapped in order to consume dessert.

I was glad I’d saved room for the Warm Berry Salsa and Crème Fraîche. It was a generous portion served with perfectly prepared cinnamon-sugar coated flour tortilla chips. Damn, the chips were so fresh they were almost chewy. The unsweetened cream allows the sweet blue berries, raspberries and strawberries to talk.

Luckily I don’t have to wait for dinnertime to go back to Agave – they’re now offering a $12 All-U-Can Drink Brunch. Yes, there’s food too.

 

Agave, Bar & Mexican Grill, 1970 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton. 631-237-1334, www.agavethehamptons.com.

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