130 Townsend Street (at 2nd)
Cities around the country are being repurposed for living. There is an entire new city being built in San Francisco, south of Market Street. The streets are full of cranes and construction gear, and new apartment blocks and streets lined with shops and restaurants are emerging from the scaffolding. Tres Agaves is one of those new restaurants, and it is a big, lively, bustling place with real gusto and great Mexican food.
The traditional corn chips and hot salsa on the table were a good sign. The chips tasted of corn and crunched nicely. We started out with some guacamole, beef gorditas and a sweet potato empanada. It was real guacamole made from real avocados with lots of garlic. The beef gorditas were hefty deep fried bundles of spicy beef. The empanada was good, but a bit bland for our taste.
We had started the meal with margaritas. These were made with lots of real lime juice and good tequila. As the name Tres Agaves implies, tequila is something of focus here. We ordered a few extra shots, and a tasting flight. They have an amazing selection with a tequila for every taste. Given the spiciness of our meal, we went for the anejos.
For our main dish we had the beef skirt steak and the chile relleno. The steak, redolent of wood smoke, was barbecued and served with a piquant red chipotle salsa and a savory green tomatillo salsa. The chile relleno had not been overcooked, so we could taste the poblano pepper, the melted cheese and the fresh corn kernels. There was the usual complement of side dishes, including a really good batch of refried beans, a cabbage mango and chile slaw, great corn tortillas and a well turned bowl of green rice.
For dessert, we went for the bread pudding with caramel sauce, and we were not disappointed. We are suckers for bread pudding, but there is a reason for this.
Tres Agaves is a lively restaurant, with several cavernous rooms, so it can get a little loud at times. Despite this, we had no trouble talking at the table. The noise seems more concentrated at the bar. The staff was friendly and efficient. This includes both our waiters and the folks at the front who had to deal with things like taxicabs and finding a lost pair of glasses.
We'll recommend Tres Agaves to anyone seeking a good time and good Mexican food.