Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Ottawa Restaurant Review: Agave Grill

(This is just background information for friends and family who know who I'm talking about....skip ahead to the food if you want!) The day right after I got back from New Orleans, so, about two weeks ago, Tim and I decided that we needed to go for lunch together before he jetted off on his summer travels, and of course, we invited Tessa. But then, we realized that Eric was actually coming back for Convocation for Carleton that weekend instead of the next, so naturally, Eric was invited, and then Ariane surprised Marc-André by coming to Ottawa a day early but he had to go somewhere for dinner, so it ended up being a big HoC Page reunion!

We decided on the Agave Grill because we were tired of going to the usual digs downtown and in the Byward Market, so we decided to venture out to Westboro, and had heard good things about this place from some friends. It didn't disappoint! 

Tessa, me, Eric
They had really nicely presented drinks (round of margaritas, anyone?) and I was impressed with the mint muddling that I saw behind the counter so I decided to order a drink myself. (Ever since my trip, I've been ever so into the muddling of mint that it has started to become quite a strange obsession). Anyways, they did a great job on that, and the flavours were good.  Although Ariane did note that her raspberry mojito could have used with some fresh raspberries instead of just the juice. And the salt rims on the cups could have definitely used a little more finesse.

In any case, you can always count on Tim to order the "fun appetizer that we may not have otherwise tried", so there we were with an order of the flautas, which is sirloin steak (or chicken) wrapped and lightly fried in a flour tortilla served with chipotle mayo. ($12) This was really, really good, and the chipotle mayo was a big hit!

Flautas
On the recommendation from the server, Tim and Eric both ordered the Pechuga de Pollo ($18) (she said it was her absolute favourite!) and I can see why. It was just such an appetizing plate to begin with, with all its colours and variety of vegetables, and the chicken was nice and moist, and the sauce of cilantro cream cheese (Eric cares a great deal about his sauces!) was unreal. I would definitely order this if I came next time.
Pechuga de Pollo
Tessa and Ariane both ordered their signature dish--the Mexican flag ($15) (See the three colours?) which was corn tortillas with steak or chicken, and topped with cilantro cream cheese, chipotle and tomatillia. Good stuff. Would also consider ordering next time.

Mexican Flag
And lord knows, even though I just came back from the land of the deep fried, the temptation of a good chimichanga ($15) (I've had some good and bad ones in Ottawa!) was too strong, and I had to order it. It was heaps good. And much better than the Blue Cactus one, that is for sure.

Chimichanga
 And there you have it folks. A good Southwestern restaurant in the middle of Ottawa! We had the best table in the house for sure, as we somehow ended up with seats near the window too. Will definitely go back again!
Ariane, Tessa, Tim, Annie, and Eric
Postivies
Really damn good Southwesten food!
Well priced
Good service

Negatives
Mediocre and overpriced drinks
Hard to access washroom
Dning area that can get a bit overheated/overcrowed on a hot day (we were lucky to have been sitting where we were!)
The deep fried ice cream for dessert that Tessa and Ariane ordered was not as good as it could have been for sure.

Final Note: Great Restaurant. For the quality of the food and the pricing, it is totally awesome. Beats Ahora or Mexicali Rosa's for Mexican food anyday, and yet, has other Southwestern options (Jambalaya even!) available for those who are not particularly feeling taco or burrito-y that day. All in all, good stuff!

 Agave on Urbanspoon

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