A small Baymeadows taqueria has changed the way the Mexican food game is played in Jacksonville. The only question you’ll need to answer is, have you got next?
El Agave Azul joins the growing number of food trucks that have opened brick-and-mortar locations by recently finding a permanent home in the Brierwood Village Plaza shopping center at the corner of Baymeadows and Old Kings Road.
Once inside, you will find a bright and impeccably clean space that is touched with colorful yet subtle artistic touches, the sum of which is tailor-made for the Instagram-era. Aesthetics aside, the real star here is the authentic Mexican street fare.
Try the carne asada plate ($13), which is essentially a deconstructed burrito with a half dozen dense corn tortillas served on the side. Thinly cut savory steak is aided by a slight hint of sweetness from grilled onions. The steak is soothed with the creaminess of refried beans and queso fresca. Frankly, this is far and away the best carne asada I’ve had in Jacksonville.
Tacos are ordered a la carte ($3 each), with a choice from six different proteins. I recommend the pastor, which is amped up with an ample dose of pork fat that contrasts nicely with sweet chunks of pineapple. The pineapple is not very subtle, being toned down with just the right amount of cilantro and diced raw onions.
For the more adventurous type, add on a lenqua taco ($3.50). Oftentimes lengua can be overcooked, but the chefs here hit just the right temperature resulting in a soft and succulent chew. After a few bites, I begin to ponder whether I am tasting this meaty muscle, or is it tasting me?
Looking for something to fill you up without breaking the bank? Go for the taco agave fries ($9) — a heaping portion of salty fried potatoes, creamy queso dip, mozzarella cheese and your choice of protein. I highly recommend you upgrade to the supreme (50 cents) which adds lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. This hot, salty and starch-heavy combination is something I could not get enough of.
There are taco joints, and then there is El Agave Azul. Yes, they are that good! I admit having never bothered to chase around their food truck before, but now that they have a permanent home, I make a weekly trek here and would recommend you do the same.
Mike Field is a native Jaxson who has spent his life dining on the finest camel riders and gives directions by referencing ‘where the Pic N Save used to be.’
EL AGAVE AZUL
8763 Old Kings Road S.
Type of Cuisine: Mexican street fare
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Reservations accepted: No
Prices: appetizers, $3.50-$7.50; entrees, $3-$13; sides, $2-$4; deserts $2.50-$3