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Dining out: Olé! Latin food with flair

BY ANNA SPIVAK & HELEN KLEIN

With an inviting menu of Mexican and Latin-inspired dishes, Bay Ridge’s Blue Agave seeks to change up standard South of the Border fare while retaining beloved classics.

The restaurant, from the team behind Los Pollitos, in Los Pollitos’ old location, is a real winner. The Mexican food – much of it retained from the prior restaurant – is fabulous and so too are the new additions to the menu at the eatery, which has been open in its new incarnation – with a new look and a new menu — just since mid-October.

“Our challenge,” noted Co-Owner Francis Chevalier, “was to do it in a way that we kept our base of customers and brought new customers in.”

To that end, he said, the restaurant had launched its weekday $8.95 lunch specials, with large portions (just like at dinner). “They don’t have to wait for dinner to try everything on the menu,” stressed Chevalier.

We sampled a variety of the eatery’s most popular preparations, and were wowed by them all.

The Guacamole ($9) was incredibly refreshing, mixing perfectly ripe mashed avocado with cilantro, diced tomato and onion. Scooping some onto tortilla or plantain chips made for the ultimate guacamole experience, aka chip-and-dip heaven.

The Agave Mango Ceviche ($12) covered all of the classic South American bases—and then some. With a delightful mix of fresh Branzino and shrimp, spiked with lime juice, mango and cilantro, the tastefully tangy dish was topped with tomatoes and cucumbers, the perfect counterpart to the fiery jalapeño and green peppers.

Agave Shrimp ($9) were deep-fried delights, crisp on the outside and tender and sweet on the inside, and perfectly complemented by creamy, spicy jalapeno tartar sauce.

The Spicy Shrimp Poppers ($10) are Blue Agave’s take on traditional Jalapeno Poppers, stuffed with shrimp and jack cheese and wrapped with crisp bacon, providing a contrast of flavors and textures, a burst of heat, salt and smoke that was supremely satisfying.

To go along with our appetizers, we indulged in refreshing Fruta Margaritas ($8 plus $1 for frozen). Available with a choice of fresh strawberry, mango, passion fruit, raspberry, pomegranate, tamarind or guava fruit puree, this delightful drink can be served on the rocks or frozen. Strawberry and frozen was our choice for the night and we enjoyed every sip.

The Sizzling Steak Fajitas ($15) brought out on a searing skillet, was comprised of generously seasoned, savory steak slices accompanied by marinated and sautéed onions and peppers. Served with three flour or corn tortillas, rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream, this classic Tex-Mex dish was anything but ordinary.

The Enchiladas Suizas ($15) featured two shredded-chicken stuffed enchiladas bathed in tomatillo sauce and topped with flecks of cheese, with comforting scoops of rice and red beans on the side. It was both satisfying and filling.

This Latin-Mexican bistro sure knows how to turn a small dessert into a large attraction. Served in a martini glass, Blue Agave’s churro dessert ($7) featured the warm, fried-dough pastry topped with chocolate sauce and perched in chilled chocolate mousse. Equally yummy was Blue Agave’s take on Flan ($7), with the perfectly molded custard perched atop dense chocolate cake, itself topped with a glaze of dark caramel.

Satisfying but not too sweet, both desserts made a perfect finale to a delightful meal.

BLUE AGAVE
7215B 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
718-439-0808
www.blueagaveny.com

Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Free delivery (minimum $10 order) from 52nd to 95th Street and from Seventh Avenue to Shore Road

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