DINING IN, DINING OUT: Coconut shrimp to die for at this four-star restaurant
June 21, 2014
BLUE AGAVE GRILL
ADDRESS: 201 S. College Ave., Suite 100, Fort Collins
TELEPHONE: (970) 631-8076
HOURS: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
RATING (Out of 4 stars): Four Stars
It took merely one bite of Blue Agave's coconut shrimp appetizer for my girlfriends and I (five of us in all) to collectively decide we were in gastronomic heaven.
So began a girl's night out that included, not only fun times, but one amazing dish after the other. To put it mildly, The Blue Agave Grill is a restaurant not to be missed.
Set in the basement level of the Fort Collins Museum of Art, Blue Agave has enough windows and light in its L-shaped space to not feel cavernous. We were seated at a comfy booth plenty large enough for all five of us, plus our super-sized margaritas.
Not that we ordered super-sized drinks; they just come that way. The Blue Agave house margarita is not only large, it's also delicious. Think sweet, sour and full of real citrusy lime flavor.
Back to that shrimp ($8.99). Each impeccably sweet and succulent piece had the perfect crispy, coconut-crusted, fried coating that you hope for in such a dish. Best of all was the chipotle cream and sweet adobe vinaigrette that accompanied it. Oohs and aahs could be heard from every direction of our table. I dare say it was the best coconut shrimp I've ever had.
From a menu I would describe as upscale Southwestern, we chose three other items to split — the Lobster Street Tacos ($9.99) from the appetizer listings, the Signature Asada ($17.99) from the "Land" portion of the menu, and the Mango Fish Tacos ($12.19) from the aptly named "Tacos" section. All were outstanding.
The lobster tacos are small, flat rounds of soft corn tortillas with diced chunks of lemon-buttered lobster, corn salsa, lobster cream sauce and a smattering of Monterey jack cheese. They were sweet and creamy and utterly delectable.
Similarly, the Mango Fish Tacos had a wonderful combination of sweet and creamy flavors along with soft and crunchy textures.
Mild, grilled white fish, asadero cheese, marinated cherry tomatoes, citrus slaw and mango salsa are wrapped in soft corn or flour tortillas. We opted for the corn and were more than pleased with the results.
The Signature Asada meal consisted of a chargrilled strip of marinated skirt steak, along with one shrimp and lobster enchilada, cilantro rice and black beans.
We all agreed that the steak was perfectly cooked and had great flavor. Personally, I absolutely loved the enchilada which was not overly coated with melted cheese but rather expertly prepared so that you could taste the shellfish, cheese and chipotle cream sauce come together in every bite.
The "accoutrements" are well done here, as well. The chips don't appear to be homemade, but the salsa has a nice fire-roasted tomato flavor to it. Better yet is the avocado salsa. It's a thinner, creamier version of guacamole and a great addition to every dish. Even my friend, Stephanie, not an avocado fan, found this dip quite appealing.
We all found the deep, dark chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream for dessert super appealing. This was a brownie at its very best. Supremely rich chocolate flavor, thick and gooey texture, slightly crisp exterior, and warmed up just enough for the ice cream to melt lovingly on top.
Most of Blue Agave's space is inside, but there is also a small outside patio for summer dining. And does nothing scream "summer" more than good friends, good margaritas, good food and outside dining? Blue Agave scores on all counts.
Shannon Teslow has been a Windsor resident since 1995.