Rochester Mexican restaurants are generally not very good. There are several reasons for this. Most area Mexican restaurants are chain operated. That means than the local Mexican restaurant clientele only have chain restaurants as a reference point. A small truly authentic Mexican restaurant opened in Greece, NY years ago and lasted for only about a year. They had one major mark against them. They didn't sell margaritas. The food was great. It was flavorful and a little spicy, just like you what you would be served in a Mexican home.
Agave is not much different from the chain Mexican restaurants in the area. Even their menu is nearly identical to several other Mexican restaurants. One of the ways that I know that I am not going to have a good authentic Mexican meal is to look at the restaurant menu. If there is no combination dinner that includes chili poblano and tamales it is an indication that you are looking at a standardized menu, which indicates a standardized Mexican restaurant. Like most local Mexican restaurant franchises, Agave provided free salsa and chips, although neither were very good.
When stuck at a Mexican restaurant like Agave, I usually order from the a la carte section. This time I ordered tamale, chili poblano, rice, and beans. The tamale was flattened corn meal with a very small amount of meat in the center. Just enough meat to suggest a meat flavor. The tamale was warm on the outside and cool in the center. The rice was unspectacular and lacked lacked flavor. The re-fried beans were cold and came in a stingy portion of about three tablespoons spread out across a third of the plate.
A standard test for an authentic Mexican restaurant is the quality of their flan. If the flan is golden in color and delicate in texture is may be good. If it is covered with maraschino cherries, sauces, and whipped creme, you know that they are trying to cover up something. What Agave was covering up was a flan that was very rigid like a dry bread pudding. It was just edible.
A major plus for Agave was that they didn't have a large screen TV. The noise level was actually low enough to carry on a conversation with a date.
The service was good, but the server knew little or nothing about Mexican food and mispronounced the name of the beer that they had on special.
Would I go back to Agave? Probably not. Would I recommend it to a friend? No.
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