We start out with a disclaimer on our post today. Restaurants usually have a few hiccups when they first open. Visiting a new dinning establishment in its second week is usually not a true snapshot of its true potential. With that said what a disappointing visit to El Agave Azul the self-proclaimed “Coolest, Hottest, and Delicious Food” new Mexican restaurant in Richmond California. El Agave Azul opened two weeks ago. It was greatly anticipated revamping the old popular Gonzales Restaurant site. The new owners run the very successful La Strada Italian restaurant right down the street.
Parking Karma was turned off today because El Agave Azul has a parking lot. But! Here was the first of our list of hiccups. The parking lot access off the main street is blocked by huge traffic barriers and a food truck. We drove around the block and found an unmarked driveway to find access to the lot. I can see people circling the block looking for this driveway. Once inside the newly paved lot we see beautiful murals painted on the side of El Agave Azul exterior.
We walk in the doors to a fresh, new, modern and inviting dining area. The very polite host seats us right next to the door even though there are only two other diners this afternoon. We ask to be seated somewhere else and she obliged. Even the copper covered photo book menus have a brand new look, smell and prices to match. There was a lot of work done and care to create these picturesque menus. We order our usual dishes, Ms. Goofy a burrito and I Chileverde.
Chips and Salsa were brought to our table. The chips were stale and seemed to be outsourced. The salsa was decent tomato/jalapeno mixture but did not impress. I asked the waiter if he had a hotter variety. He said yes but it never was produced. While not enjoying our appetizer we listened to canned Mexican music from the house sound system. There was a noticeable annoyable hum that I cannot understand how the staff could not hear or correct.
There were only three other tables in this fully staffed restaurant. Why did it take so long for our food to arrive? I joked that we go outside to the food truck and order snacks. Here is another question. Why is there a food truck parked in the parking lot? Our food arrived. The plates did look appetizing. Please take a close look at the size of Ms. Goofy’s burrito.
This entre cost 17 dollars. Ms. Goofy told the waiter she was supposed to have rice and beans with her burrito. The waiter informed her that the rice and beans were inside the burrito. Okay, how did it taste? Ms. Goofy made an observation that there was not a lot of meat in this small sized rendition. (I like to refer to this as a “Wish”’ burrito. You wish there was some meat.) She also described the carnita meat as “catfoodish”. Ouch!
My Chileverde dish was unremarkable. It was served with some outsourced tortillas. Weak! Our waiter informed us that he was leaving, but there was no hurry with the bill. I understood; no hurry with our food but please hurry with my gratuity. That was a low blow because he was nice except for the fact he never did bring the promised salsa.
Overall, even though this was a new opening, we shall not return. We have not written El Agave Azul off of our books. We will just wait and listen to see if there is any improvement in food and service. We want to support local business but this is a difficult choice as it operates now. Seventeen dollars for a “Wish” burrito is unacceptable when there are so many other alternative restaurants to go to.
WAIT A MINUTE- that *burrito* was $17?!?! That weak excuse for a child's burrito, that slightly-paunchy-manicotti-looking thing, that flauta that had too much to drink was $17$!$!
I had to laugh last week when SFGate ran with "Best Burritos Under $10," But $17? In Richmond?
You made no mention of hispters, so I assume it's the fact that it's, oddly, somehow an Italian offshoot (!?!) and the placement of "delicious" last in their “Coolest, Hottest, and Delicious Food” slogan.
Somewhere I've got a list of Richmond taquerias to hit up as long as my arm fer cryin' out loud.
Aaron, El Agave Azul is a sleek modern looking dining establishment. The bar looks like it would be a fun place to hang out. The only justification I could see for the "Wish" burrito is they are trying to recoup their building costs. Not with my money.
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