WIAW: Agave Grill Girl’s Night

I don’t usually do a day-in-the-life WIAW. What I eat on weekdays doesn’t tend to change. So today’s What I Ate Wednesday post is about What I Ate at Agave Grill in Hartford, CT. As I mentioned on Monday, Kelly was in CT this past weekend so she and I planned a Saturday dinner date literally MONTHS ago. That girl knows how my schedule tends to go.

Be sure to join Jenn’s link-up!

And I know how Agave’s tends to go: the space is quite small, and they don’t even take call-ahead seating on weekends (something my mom and I found out during my first visit a couple of years ago). Thankfully I connected with Hartford Restaurant Group‘s Jonathan (fun fact: they also operate TD Homer’s in Southington and Wood-N-Tap in EVERYWHERE) awhile back through this blog, and he was kind enough to score Kelly and I a rare Saturday night reservation for two. Thanks Jon!

FYI, Agave does do call-ahead seating Sunday through Thursday! Source

Overall the service was pretty good. I arrived early and was seated promptly, but no one came by to offer me a water or something to drink until Kelly arrived about ten minutes later. But that gave me plenty of time to peruse the menu and the specials, which together gave plenty of options! We were waited on right after Kelly sat down and I of course had some cocktail questions for our waitress. Her knowledge of the drink menu seemed a bit shaky, but from what I could gather it had been recently changed. She ended up delivering two “skinny” margaritas to Kelly and I, on the rocks with extra salt. They were just what we craved and mine went down way too quickly!

I hate labeling things “skinny” but I do love how simple these were – just tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar. Some “skinny margs” use sugar-free triple sec, and to that I say gross.

Agave has delicious chips, though the salsa was not as chunky as I like. They’re famous for their tableside guac which Kelly was eyeing, but I wasn’t very hungry and unlike most bloggers, can take or leave guac. Luckily our waitress offered to bring us a smaller side of the stuff to go with our chips! It had a bit of a kick to it – not too much though – which Kelly and I enjoyed.

It seemed to take forever for us to decide what to order – and it probably seemed that way to our waitress too – but Kelly ended up opting for the Agave Street Tacos (shredded pork in two soft blue corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, pico, Chihuahua cheese, and choice of sauce – of course she chose avocado). She especially was excited to try them after I informed her that they are not only another “famous” Agave offering, but they were served at Taste of the Nation. She had missed them since she was so distracted by the delicious margarita that was also served. That’s my girl!

Flashback: Kelly and I at Taste of the Nation with our mini Agave margs in front of the restaurant’s display! Photocred to her.

Upon first glance at the menu my gut told me to go for tuna, but I debated several options before finally circling back to my first instinct, the Pasilla-rubbed tuna (ahi tuna rubbed with a Pasilla crust, grilled and served with roasted corn, black bean, and mango salsa, Mexican rice, crispy tortilla strips and drizzled with Chimichurri sauce). I ordered the sauce on the side and got grilled veggies instead of rice, because when it comes to Mex restaurant carbs I will choose the chips over rice ANY day.

The mango salsa consisted of black bean, corn, tomato, and a mango sauce. Since I asked for the sauce on the side, they actually separated the mango sauce from the black bean, corn, and tomato! Not expected but also appreciated.

Though I am impressed by and appreciate of the fact that Agave got all of my order’s weird tweaks correct, the tuna was unfortunately cooked incorrectly. I asked for it medium rare and it came out medium well, and was not at all what I was expecting. I felt like I was eating an overdone burger. The veggies were fantastic though – nice and firm, not too oily, and plenty of them! I also always appreciate an excellent Chimichurri sauce.

Best dish of the night. (Source)

Kelly ordered a side of the cornbread pudding with her meal and I have to say it was the winning dish of the night. I could not get enough of this stuff, and thankfully for me she got full and was willing to share. The dish was essentially soft cornbread in a little skillet, covered in a creamy sauce. Sooo decadent and fantastic. I am drooling just looking at that picture as I write this.

Photo taken by a real life Damian from “Mean Girls” (great comparison Kelly).

Oh, I also ordered a nice sipping anejo tequila: Gran Centenario, described as “strong vanilla on nose and palate, sweet & woody”. The “vanilla” and “woody” are what drew me to it (and the lower price I must admit) and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Though lower-quality straight tequilas never fail to make my stomach churn, I love to find Mexican restaurants with a good selection of high-quality anejo and reposado tequilas for me to explore.

As usual Kelly was excellent company and a fantastic dining companion. I can’t wait until we reunite! It was nice to go back to Mexican cuisine, which is what first brought us together (at Chili’s…ha) and I think I’d go back to Agave again. I’m not already ready to return, but there are other dishes and drinks I want to try in the future!

You can follow Agave Grill on Twitter and like them on Facebook. They also are offering a $20.13 prix fixe menu for CT Restaurant Week, now through 10/20!

What are your feelings on drinks labeled as “skinny”?

How was your last Mexican restaurant dining experience?

Guac or salsa?

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