Agave gives Mexican cuisine the white-tablecloth treatment.

It just might be able to find its niche in the Grove.

I might have liked more subtlety from the carne asada entrée. This was a decent cut of steak seasoned with garlic and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I loved the first smack of peppery, garlicky meat, but it wore me down after a few bites. A side of refried black beans was tasty, but mashed plantains were bland and had the texture of Stove Top stuffing.

Pato con mole de manzana is a seared duck breast and roasted duck leg served over a smoked-apple mole. This struck me as the most exciting dish on the menu, but my duck breast was overcooked to the point that the sauce was irrelevant. A highlight was grilled corn on the cob served on the side, glistening with butter and speckled with red pepper.

Like the duck, pollo "rayo del sol" seemed a victim of kitchen neglect. The chicken breast was supposed to be stuffed with chorizo and Manchego, Chihuahua and goat cheeses, but after much searching, we found only one crumb of chorizo. Without it, the dish was remarkably bland.

Location Info

Map

The Grove

4100 Manchester Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: St. Louis - Forest Park Southeast

Details

Agave
Guacamole (small)...$9
Fondue...$10
Chilaquiles...$14
Carnitas...$14
4198 Manchester Avenue; 314-652-4283.
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Dinner 5:30-9:30 p.m. Tue.-Wed., 5:30-10:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat.

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Its flaws notwithstanding, the duck and smoked-apple mole suggest a niche Agave could make for itself: a place to experience not-so-common regional Mexican dishes — or flights of the chef's imagination. And you have to respect a restaurant that serves tequila-flavored ice cream. I'll be back to sample a few of those high-end tequilas.

Should you see someone running around the Grove, arms outstretched, making sci-fi spaceship noises, stop me to say hello.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com.

For more about food and St. Louis restaurants, visit Gut Check: blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.

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