Ahi seared tuna over soba noodles. Teriyaki chicken skewers. Oriental chicken dumplings. Items like these aren’t found at the typical Mexican restaurant, but they fit right in at Agave’s Tequila Bar & Lounge, where a quick glance at the appetizers makes the eatery’s culinary twist clear: Mexican food, with an Asian influence. There’s no shortage of traditional south-of-the-border favorites, but on the whole, Agave’s chefs turn things up a bit when it comes to their tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, offering customers fillings beyond the usual ground beef and grilled piñatas—for example, fried Montauk flounder, sautéed tiger shrimp, and grilled sesame tuna. The house specialties deliver as well, with everything from traditional seafood paella to tuna bronseado splayed across rice beneath a crown of Asian slaw.
However, there's no mixing of cultures when it comes to Agave’s drinks. As a tequila bar, the eatery is, of course, known for flights of Don Julio, Partida, and Corzo, and bartenders also muddle fresh margaritas on the spot. Patrons can enjoy their sips amid the glow of NFL games every Sunday and Thursday, or head upstairs and dance to live salsa and reggae music.
A stone’s throw from the shore, Ortega’s Mexican Restaurant greets visitors with warm wood and terra-cotta tones throughout its interior. The kitchen churns out sizzling shrimp fajitas, taquitos, and chicken enchiladas topped with melted cheese, and the bar serves mojitos and margaritas in freshly grown cactus glasses.
Fresco's chefs strive to recreate the flavors of Mexico City using fresh ingredients. Diners can bite into fajitas, pork chops with an orange chili sauce, or opt for an entrée such as chicken marinated in coconut rum and baked inside a coconut shell. Rich, red mole sauce simmers with gulf shrimp, and roasted peppers and onions compliment chorizo sausage that's made on-site. House-made drinks made with fresh ingredients are poured at the bar, mixing margaritas from a tequila bar with over 50 different tequilas to choose from.
Salsa Salsa's cooks prepare sumptuous specialties such as BLT tacos, 3 way sizzling fajitas, and specialty quesadillas. Diners can also choose healthy options such as vegetarian eggplant chili or whole-wheat burritos filled with garlicky spinach. Over 60 types of tequila are offered as well as mixed margaritas and sangria muddled with premium spirits and fresh fruits.
Since 1974, Viva Zapata’s interior has cloaked diners in rustic comfort, complete with brick walls and wooden beams from a 200-year-old barn. A suit of armor stands guard at the eatery’s entrance, scaring away door-to-door jousters but allowing all others to enter the softly lit dining area bedecked with Mexican tapestries and antiques. Candlelight flickers across wooden tables that support homemade enchiladas, burritos, and marinated steak flanked by grilled peppers and onions. Baskets of complimentary peanuts beckon guests to throw spent shells on the ground as they did in the days before legumes grew naturally in prepackaged canisters, and barrel lamps at the bar illuminate a selection of domestic and imported beers and freshly concocted margaritas.
Helmed by Prasad Chirnomoula—accomplished owner and executive chef of multiple area restaurants—Oaxaca Kitchen infuses palates with the flavors of Mexico. Guests can dig into hanger steak one of two ways--marinated and grilled with jalapeno pan juices or cooked with avocado and maguey leaves—before tippling tequilas from the sizable drink menu. Huevos rancheros and bloody marias make appearances at brunch while live music, like the desire to shout “TGIF!” unironically, crops up on Friday nights.