Agave Southwestern Grille

Hit or miss? Miss.

The spouse and I went out last night and sampled this much awaited restaurant. Agave is a Pandl’s restaurant. Gratefully, this restaurant is NOT a chain. I was very, very hopeful as we pulled into the full parking lot. (Parking’s a miss for the development, by the way. The lot was packed with people parking in non-marked places; the restaurant was not but 2/3 full.)

We were seated by one of four young hostesses hanging around podium. The hostess left a pink “Eagans” order slip on the table for our waitstaff. Don’t ask me why, but this odd habit of leaving the ticket on the table reminds me more of a European cafeteria than an upscale restaurant. The waitress was new and had to read everything from notes. I can live with that. The spouse ordered a beer. She came back with two waters saying the bar was backed up. Later, when the beer arrived, it was warm, which isn’t great for a light colored beer.

The menu was very disappointing. When this restaurant was undergoing approval in 2007 a reader wrote:

Your posts today started my day with some hearty laughter. It brought a memory of the mayor at a meeting when the Pandls were requesting approval for their restaurant and advising it would feature a “tapas bar”. Speaker in his infinite wisdom said Brookfield would not allow a “topless bar”. He was quickly informed about tapas. (A classic Speaker moment!)

The tapas menu was not a big sell. There were five or six offerings. Other starters included various “sliders” (small burgers), a salsa served in a martini glass with a few colored corn chips – I didn’t see anyone else taking advantage of this part of the menu.

Prices were, well, awful. Entrees were $18 to $24. I settled on a $10 burger. The spouse had a pork sandwich for a little more. We both chose the little potatoes that are baked and then fried over fries. Sadly, these little guys were the best part of the meal. I will say my medium rare burger was indeed medium rare.

Other notes: the music was odd for an over 40 crowd. While I was singing along to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I don’t know many folks my age that would be. About 8:30 they turned down the lights and changed what appeared to be a satellite radio station. It was a decidedly different approach.

The outdoor bar – a present to the 2nd district from Mayor Jeff Speaker – was about 3/4 full. Inside was about 2/3. Most everyone inside and out were plowing through drinks. And that’s what I think we’ve got here, Brookfield. This is a bar that will stick you with expensive food when you realize you need dinner.

What a disappointment. For the same money, I could have had a lovely dinner at North Star Bistro.

Update – August 1 – There’s been a fatal accident after leaving this restaurant.

Update – January 27 – Agave is closed. Read more at


  1. Thanks for reviewing this restaurant. Although I’m not big on this type of cuisine, the spouse was thinking of trying it. Now we’ll think twice.

    I agree with you about North Star Bistro. Even the items on its children’s menu are tasty!

  2. Well, well…yet another Cindy that likes the RHCP

  3. So mom’s a fan, Greg?

    Good idea, Dan. We’ve been threatening to meet for dinner – maybe there?

  4. Kathryn says:

    Congrats, Dan!

  5. Ahhhh. That’s cool!

  6. winegirl says:

    Well Haute Taco will cost you a whole lot less, especially if you stick to a “drink special.” Otherwise their mixed are an expensive $9 as I recall.

    Thank you for the review. We planned to try Agave but the parking lot is always mobbed. I suspected that the outdoor patio with fireplace would be a draw to the professional cocktailers.
    Perhaps a revenue opportunity for the city: cops stationed in a nearby parking lot to pick off the offenders.

    Given the mediocre food report vis a vis high prices, we’ll stick to North Star as well. What a little gem in our neighborhood–I just wish they’d change the menu a little more often like the old Continental Cafe.

  7. Agreed. The food was mediocre. We thought the atmosphere on the patio was great, despite the dentist waiting room music they played, some sort of elevator smooth jazz that didn’t seem to fit. The prices were outrageous, it cost about $17 a cobb salad with chicken, I ordered without chicken for about $15. It had very few toppings on it and was mostly lettuce. My husband’s mojito-rita was terrible. The service was average.

    Onthe brighter side, my husband and I can’t get enough of Haute Taco. The carnitas burrito and bluberry mojitos are a must try!

  8. It does look like Haute Taco is in our future! Anyone want to pick a date?

  9. Thursday, August 7th?

  10. My wife and I tried Agave twice. The first time was a day or two after it opened up and the food was good atmosphere outside was great, the service was average and the prices were medium high to high . . . .

    Second time service was lame, food was average and the outdoor atmosphere was good.

    We plan on giving one more try and give a final grade. We were hoping this would be a good thing since it is also in our neighborhood. North Star and Haute Taco are a better choice as of now.

  11. Yesterday I read your review about Agave, so my husband and I were going to pass. But our friends who we were going with had said everyone they knew who tried it loved it. Also, a walk around the block and a talk with a neighbor confirmed the same sentiment. So, we tried it and loved it. All four of us enjoyed everything we ordered (except a strawberry margarita) and we thougt the atmosphere was something nice and different for Brookfield. We all agreed we would gladly return.r

  12. Three of my girlfriends and I had a very nice and relaxing lunch at Agave about a month ago, shortly after it opened. You could tell the management and wait staff were trying hard to please while working out some initial kinks. Had an excellent long island iced tea with lunch. The patio and outdoor atmosphere was something new and refreshing. Granted, we had salads, but they were quite fresh and tasty. Will try dinner with my husband some time soon.

  13. Sadly, indeed. I hope the Pandl family will lobby for better road markings and post their own warning near the restaurant exit. Capitol Drive has always been frighteningly too fast at 50 mph and it’s wide to get across. You know people are driving faster than the posted 50. The only official information published so far is that the westbound driver (not the restaurant diner) had six DUI’s prior to the other night. What a shame.

  14. Cathy, the news reports say alcohol may have been a factor for both drivers. Levels of intoxication have not been released for either. It’s probably best to withhold judgment until everything is known.

  15. Cindy, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  16. Turkey Baker says:

    Actually the appetizers I tried were pretty good. Chicken wings were breaded full of spices, chips and salsa tasted good, and the oyster, the raw oyster was my favorite! Well, some may say it is too fishy.
    So I’m going back, just for the oyster, on my birthday today.

  17. Turkey Baker says:

    BTW, thanks for the very detailed review.

    The joke of tapas bar made my day!

  18. Chuck Kendall says:

    Well we tried Agave hoping for the best…not to be. The bar area is nice, the decore is nice. The TVs were nice. The food…not so nice…
    I ordered an Agave burger and fries cooked medium…it shows up presented like at burger from the Woolworth’s lunch counter. Took a bite…maybe medium rare….I didn’t send it back…hope I don’t get sick. Wifey had a slamon special…$22.95!!!, frozen salmon, scoop of beans and scoop of corn salsa.

    I was expecting a menu with burritos, chimys, enchladas…free chips and salsa at you table…kind of like an upscale LaPerla…it’s like the menu didn’t match the theme…

    In sum, it’s a one timer…never again.

  19. Chuck – I came close to buying you a little Shelby die cut car from the Auto Museum we visited yesterday, but I couldn’t remember which model you have. This one was even painted blue and white!

  20. How can you give such a horrible review. You and your spouse both ordered the wrong menu items. If you want a burger….eat at McDonalds. Agave has some unique tasting southwest style food. It is located in Brookfield, of course it will be a little higher price. You have to eat the right things at the right places. The warm beer…now that is gross!

  21. FYI We had an awesome brunch at Agave not too long ago! There were items off the menu and on a buffet – all included in the one price. Everything was fantastic!