Eat Out in Sedona: 89Agave Cantina

Late this summer, Uptown’s Taos Cantina reopened as 89Agave Cantina under the helm of Executive Chef Mark May. Both the interior and exterior of the space received a facelift. The popular front patio (ideal for a lazy afternoon of people watching) remains, but the restaurant now also boasts a side porch featuring a vibrant color palette and  striped booths. Inside, you’ll find a bar and tall tables in hues of orange, red, cream and turquoise. There’s also a chalkboard wall and pendant lights in the shape of stars. Who says a Mexican restaurant has to feature serape blankets and sombreros?

The menu at 89Agave is equally as enticing. It would be sacrilege to ignore the drink menu, which includes more than 60 premium tequilas. We started with the 89Agave Ultimate Margarita featuring premium reposado tequila, agave nectar, Cointreau, Grand Marnier and fresh lime. The Mexico-meets-France cocktail was strong and not sweet like some margaritas. For dinner, our server recommended the Street Tacos, three traditional Mexican tacos served in soft corn tortillas with guacamole and sour cream on the side. Choose from chile-marinated steak or chicken; slow-roasted pork; garlic-and-lemon sea bass with mango salsa; or achiote-citrus marinated Mexican white shrimp (our favorite). The tacos were authentic with an updated twist, and we can’t say enough about the amazing tortillas. The Pollo Asado is the perfect autumn dish: succulent achiote-marinated chicken topped with an earthy pumpkinseed mole and served with roasted jalapenos, grilled onions, chayote squash and yucca fries. The meals came with bottomless bowls of Mexican rice and refried black beans, so there’s no fear of leaving hungry.

89Agave offers several desserts, but only one was made in house during our visit, and that was the sopaipillas. Having just returned from New Mexico, land of the sopaipilla, we couldn’t resist. Two fried pillows of dough arrived encrusted in cinnamon and sugar and resting on a drizzle of honey with whipped cream on the side – a light and delicious way to end the meal.  – Erika Ayn Finch. Photo by Dean Stevenson.

89Agave Cantina, 254 SR 89A in Uptown. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., for lunch and dinner. MC, Visa, AmEx, Disc (928-282-7200) (Moderate to Expensive)

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