When was the last time you had modern Mexican cuisine? With most palettes being accustomed to the “Tex-Mex” culture, many times diners assume that is as good as it gets. That is no longer true and Agua301 is proving that now. Newly opened and located right on the gorgeous riverfront at the Navy Yard, Agua301 finds a way to wed old Mexican favorites with a chic and modern twist. No strangers to the restaurant game, the owners of Agua301; Amanda and Steve Briggs and David Bonior also own the hip and family friendly Zest American Bistro located on Barracks Row in Capitol Hill.
Upon arrival, you are greeted by an attentive staff that is sure to usher you into the complete dining experience. Dim lighting provided by charming hanging ceiling lamps and soft candles set the ambiance for a memorable meal. A simple yet copious menu does a phenomenal job of describing each menu item while holding true to original Spanish nomenclature; servers were more than happy to help with any menu questions.
Fresh is only one word to describe the food and drink at Agua301. The house lime margarita ($8) and the frozen peach sangria, ($8) just to name a few, are created with freshly made fruit purees; this adds to the authenticity of the flavors. An impressive wine list allows for diners to indulge in wines they may not otherwise get a chance to try. Ranging from whites and reds from Spain to Argentina, it is evident that Agua301 desires their diners to experience their cuisine to the fullest.
With three house made guacamoles, Guacamole de Jaiba ($12) was robust with flavors of jumbo lump crab and fresh corn, the fresh taste and the smoothness of the avocados made scooping up heaping amounts onto your tortilla chip habit forming! Creamy Queso Fundido ($10) is stirred at the table by your server and ensures complete freshness to enjoy with mini warm tortillas. A crowd favorite; Carnitas Sopas ($7) was dynamic in taste; using bold flavors like black bean puree and pickled red onions, leaving diners wanting more and have them feeling like a Mexican cuisine enthusiast! Chicken Tortilla Soup ($8) was more than impressive and equally tasty with the broth being poured tableside accompanied by a small plate of garnishes like a fresh slice of avocado and fresh pico de gallo to enhance the fire roasted flavor of the chicken pieces. Coctel de Camarones ($12) was a pleasant ceviche spin on the popular shrimp cocktail, with a flavor that was bold and balanced in taste.
Bocaditos (little bites to have with drinks) make this a perfect spot to meet up with friends after work; almost like a built in happy hour! For taco admirers, a full section of the menu is devoted to you! Carnitas Taco ($8) was fresh in taste with tender shredded pork and a surprising slice of an orange that rounds out the flavors.
Red Snapper con Almejas ($21) was prepared thoughtfully and deliciously with fingerling potatoes, clams and a full-bodied broth to finish off the plate. Adobo Roasted Chicken ($16) had a smoky flavor that paired fittingly with the black beans and sautéed greens. Agua301 does an impressive job with their plate presentation opting to focus more on the edible staging components on stark white plates opposed to using plate ware to support the appearance. A wildcard menu item would have to be the outstanding Street Corn Casserole ($5) that is available as a side item. A balanced experience of the sweet corn and creamy cheese may become a menu frontrunner!
Saving the best for last; desserts ($6.50) range from Apple Empanadas to Ice Cream and Sorbet. Out of all the sweet options, the main event had to be the churros. Warm, soft and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar; these churros are delightful solo, but the melted Mexican hot chocolate fondue takes this dessert to unseen levels!
Agua301 makes dining pleasing and an easy choice for everyone in your party with having a kids menu and vegetarian options. So take a break to treat yourself, and head over to Agua301, this will soon become one of your DC favorites!