Lewes' popular Agave restaurant is one of Lewes' hot spots, with long waits – and delicious margaritas. Most of the drinks involve Agave's huge selection of tequilas (over 70 varieties). One of the favorite drinks at our table is the Tequila Sunset, a multicolored blend of juices and spirits. The margaritas come in three sizes. Bring a designated driver (or an ambulance) if you plan to experiment with the extra large.
In late 2021, Agave expanded its reach out onto Coastal Highway in Rehoboth Beach. The setting is quite nice, with a very similar menu and, at least in the few month after opening, long waits at peak times.
The Super Nachos are built around homemade chips and presented in a colorful metal serving tray with a combination of black beans, creamy white queso fresca, smoky salsa, cool sour cream and warm roasted peppers. The guacamole appetizer is served in a large molcajete, a traditional Mexican salsa bowl. No food processors here: It was fresh and obviously handmade with chunks of fresh avocado throughout. Several members of our party had the Chicken Tortilla soup, rich with spices and white-meat chicken, particularly appetizing in a striking pottery bowl.
The Cobb Salad Quesadilla entrée is infused with tidbits of corn, beans and crunchy vegetables. If you like Chicken Mole, definitely try it here. A dark, rich and not-too-thick Mole sauce is a hard thing to get right (see some of my other reviews), but Agave nailed it. At this point I have to pay tribute to their jalapeno/cheese cornbread. Just hope it is still on the menu! This is one of my own signature dishes when I entertain at home, so I was poised to criticize. It came very close to the moist and creamy mouth-feel of the real thing (mine, of course).
Leisa Berlin (owner Chris McKeown's mother) was the opening chef at Agave, but is now ensconced at her very own Edie Bee's Confection Shop a few doors away. In fact, she is also the boss at The Station on Kings, her very own restaurant/merchandise concept on King's Highway in Lewes.
Nothing can ruin a reviewers credibility faster than complimenting everything. Nobodys perfect. In particular, the layout of Agave makes for lots of reflected sound, so the place is much noisier than it needs to be. There are things that can be done about that. Since their remodel several years ago, that problem has diminished slightly. On the other hand, it is sort of a party place and after a couple of pomegranate margs you won't notice anyway. One note I get from guests is that it's important that you make it clear to your server what you want as an app and what you want as the mains. Otherwise, everything could come out at once.
Agave Lewes1/4 They have great guac2/4 The nachos3/4 Agave Lewes4/4
That being said, owner Chris McKeown has skillfully married a well-stocked tequila bar with a lively Mexican menu. Design touches such as their cleverly shuttered wall murals, the understated flat-screen TV glowing from behind a half-silvered mirror, and the streamlined bar all add up to a great, tequila-soaked time. So be sure to eat! And the same applied to Agave #2. I love their nickname for that grand space: Margarita Promised Land.
They don't take reservations, but the wait will be worth it (pass the time with a pomegranate margarita). If you just MUST be seated immediately because you are very, very important, then get there early. Like 4:30. A couple of years ago Agave expanded into the neighboring space (where Rocky Mountain Chocolate used to be), but they didn't really expand the seating. They made a store out of it. It just seems to me that a better use of those square feet would have been tables that most certainly would have filled. But it's not my restaurant; just sayin'….
They are located at 137 Second Street in Lewes and can be reached at 302-645-1232. I suggest putting down that mouse and just going and having a good time.
(L. (limited–call), D., Bar)