Any idea what is the base ingredient in tequila? I’m guessing many people don’t – I didn’t until I met with Sergio Mucino of Elmwood’s newest restaurant, Agave. The Mexican restaurant’s namesake comes from the native plant of Jalisco, Mexico. Agave plants can grow to be taller than 7 feet, and it’s nectar is known in Mexico as aguamiel, or “honey water,” a prime ingredient of tequila. I’m hoping this means Agave plans on bringing some mean margaritas to the Elmwood fiesta.
Sergio Mucino, owner of Don Tequila on Allen and formerly Orchard Park, has opened Agave as Elmwood Village’s only Mexican restaurant (unless you consider the T in ETS Mexican). Agave’s menu will consist of almost exactly the same items as it’s hermana in Allentown. The team has added some new dishes that are truly authentic to the Mexican culture. For example, one of the new soups you’ll find on the menu is Pozole (Sat & Sun only, $8.99). Pozole means “foamy” and is traditionally a soup or stew made with a specific variety of corn called hominy with large, tough kernels. In Pozole you’ll find some kind of meat, chili peppers, and various seasonings. The exact ingredients may change from region to region in Mexico, but maize is always the foundation. Menudo is also new to the menu (Sat & Sun only, $8.99). Menudo is another authentic Mexican soup made with inexpensive parts of the cow, onions, cilantro, oregano, red chili peppers and lime. Again, depending on the recipe, hominy may be added to the soup. In my experience with my grandma’s “Mexican Stew”, the hominy offers a soft, comforting bite with subtle flavor.
Other new menu items include some additional vegetarian options:
- Veggie Burrito ($10.99) – flour tortilla stuffed with grilled zucchini, squash, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers, topped with our special cheese sauce. Served with rice, pico de gallo salad and sour cream
- Veggie Quesadilla ($10.99) – Grilled onions, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and squash folded into a flour tortilla and served with a side of rice, pico de gallo, guacamole salad and sour cream.
Tacos Al Pastor will also be now be available in addition to other meats like asada, chicken, carnitas. Al Pastor means cut from the spit and is an adaption of the shawarma spit of grilled meat.
These new options aren’t exactly easy to find on the menu. They haven’t highlighted them to stand out, but I personally think they are some pretty interesting, authentic dishes worth noting. I recommend writing them down and asking your server for more details or just go for it! All of the new menu items will also be added to the original menu at Don Tequila.
Other menu items to try for Lunch:
- Special Lunch #1 ($6.99)- Chile Relleno or Poblano, taco, beans & guacamole salad (pictured above). The difference between the Chiles Relleno and poblano? The Relleno is a ball of ground beef, with sliced bell peppers topped with cheese. The Poblano is a Poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, covered with beaten eggs & fried. I’d say thats a pretty big difference. They are scattered throughout the menu, offered separately or with combos.
- Lunch Vippy Special ($8.99)- A grilled Steak or chicken burrito, topped with rice and cheese.
- Enchiladas de Mole ($11.99)- 3 chicken enchiladas with their special mole sauce and rice topped with lettuce, sour cream and pico de gallo.
- Mar Y Tierra ($16.50)- A juicy t-bone steak grilled to perfection, paired with shrimp, jalapeño, rice and beans.
- Desi Special ($10.99)- One beef taquito, one chicken chimichanga, rice, beans and topped with salad.
Naturally, they have a nice selection of tequila on display at the centrally located bar. Like the rest of the restaurant, the bar is slightly smaller than Don Tequila, which gives it a nice cozy vibe – no awkward wide open spaces and enough room to feel comfortable. The bar has tall stools to pull up and have a house marg for $6.50, a Jumbo for $7.99, a pitcher for $19.50 or perhaps an imported beer (Corona, Tecate, Dos XX, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial, Sol, Pacifico). The decor is similar to other festive Mexican restaurants, aimed at getting you in the mood. From one end of the spectrum to the other, they have a “Little Amigos” menu with options for $4.25. I like the name.
Mexican restaurants are many times hit or miss around here. Often you’ll find good & bad within the walls of each. You never know when you’re going to get a bangin’ Chile Poblano (Agave) or a drool-worthy Mexican Pizza (Coyote cafe). Often they seem to be hidden amongst average tacos and semi-tasty fajitas all over the area. That’s why it’s important to dig deep into the menu, go for new things and sample many dishes. I’m intrigued by the Tacos Al Pastor, the Pozole and Menudo at Agave. Will they truly reflect the Mexican culture, as advertised? More importantly, will they taste good, and fill my belly with warmth and love? Let us know if you’ve tried them and what you think. Honestly, if food is good, if you think it’s good, then it’s good for you. Try not to become too distracted by people telling you what you should or shouldn’t eat. Many of us enjoy a Mighty Taco run more than we’d like to admit.
I know it’s still early, but I’d recommend the Lunch Special #1. The Poblano is excellente. I’ll be back to try the Pozole and Menudo soon.
Buffalo, New York 14222