Memphis Hi-Lites: Agave Maria Kitchen & Cantina


walking towards Agave Maria

Since leaving San Diego, our little Wu Tang Clan family has traveled near and far to find something comparable to Sombreros, Vaqueros, Albertos, Alibertos, Humbertos… you get the picture. There is absolutely nothing that compares to San Diego’s Mexican food. I don’t think anything ever will. It’s simple, San Diego has made Mexican food into a fast food staple that takes the same amount of time to buy in a drive through as it does to go to Wendy’s, Mickey D’s or any other chain food joint in the country. I mean, you can get three rolled tacos with guacamole, extra cheese, shredded lettuce, pico, topped off with sour cream and even with the aluminum foil on top it doesn’t mess up before you get back to the apartment to eat it. Throw in the different sauces in those small plastic containers and you can eat at almost any joint in San Diego 24/7, 365.

This isn’t about San Diego. This is about Memphis. It’s about how Memphis continues to pop up with new food concepts that are quirky and most important tasteful. The Wu had to roll out and pick up the boy from Stax so we figured, “It’s Friday night, we ain’t got no jobs, so let’s dine and dash!” We headed downtown.

Aside… I hate the fact that we only have about two locally owned restaurants in our Hacks Cross zone. We have some places, but I’m really into quirky burgers, tacos and pizza and we don’t have anything like that. We do have Mr. Taco… but someone has to realize that this area is prime for something not Red Lobster.

Okay back to Agave Maria. I first heard of Agave Maria with local ad group Farmhouse was proudly promoting the dope artwork and branding they created for the company. Peep that here:  That was last year. In my never ending goal to find something that can stand up to San Diego I placed Agave Maria on my to do list. Finally, we got a chance to hit the the joint for an early dinner. This is what we had:

Complimentary tortillas and salsa as a starter. We added:

FUNDIDO • 7 Baked Jack and Oaxaca Cheese, White Wine, Poblano, Grilled Flour Tortilla (Chorizo or Shitaki +2)

We shared the fundido and I’m not lying when I say this, I think B.B. King’s picture spoke to me when I bit into these traditional queso dish. I think he said, “The thrill is on!” I know that was corny… roll with it.

Tacos – CARNE ASADA • 12 Chili Lime Salt, Grilled Onion, Avocado Mousse

Two orders (LV and I) on a grilled corn tortilla. They actually give you 6 tortillas because they obviously know you are going to intentionally drop some of your meat.

Cheese Quesadilla (For the life of me I don’t understand why my daughter insists on eating quesadillas at every place we go.)

SEARED SEA SCALLOP • 8.5 Shitaki, Lardon, Lobster Cream, Radish

If there is seafood on the menu my son will find it everytime. I thought he was underwhelmed by the tappas serving size, but on the contrary. He loved the flavor. He spent most of the time trying to figure out if there was bacon on his meal. It was grilled mushroom… which should make you vegans happy. You could literally remove the scallop and go with the Shitaki as the meat option. Then again, you’d have to have dairy so you have to figure that out on your own.

The food was very good. Was it  San Diego good? Nah, but it was definitely worth fighting to find parking to make the walk down Union Ave. We got lucky and found parking right across from the Cotton Exchange Museum which is on the same block. We had excellent service and the small restaurant atmosphere felt welcoming for kids although they have a very well stocked bar.

Agave Maria is definitely worth your time. Check it out.




Here is the video below: