Downtown Houston welcomes new tequila-fueled Mexican restaurant

Real Agave is a new spot by Bill Floyd, veteran restaurateur behind the now-closed Montrose icon El Real Tex-Mex.

Real Agave's barbecue chicken flautas with guajillo sauce.

Hines

Houston hospitality veteran Bill Floyd just raised the bar for after-work margarita haunts. The longtime restaurateur unveiled Real Agave, an upscale Mexican restaurant and agave-forward cocktail lounge in downtown Houston on Sept. 13.

The chic concept, funded by global real estate investment firm Hines, anchors Enterprise Plaza on the ground floor of the 55-story tower, taking over the space of a former bank branch—surely much to the delight of the building's office workers.

Downtown has seen only a slow increase of people resuming in-person workdays, making it a risky pocket of the city to run a restaurant, but it's nothing new for Floyd. He currently operates Potente and Osso & Kristalla steps from Minute Maid Park, and an iteration of El Real in the downtown tunnel system, his wildly popular Montrose restaurant that used to occupy the iconic space where Acme Oyster House is now.

Shrimp campechana at Real Agave.

Hines

Whereas El Real serves casual Tex-Mex staples like enchiladas, taco salads and quesadillas, Real Agave focuses on fine-dining Mexican cuisine. Floyd enlisted chef Derek Cooper to create the menu, who ran the kitchen at his downtown restaurant Jackson Street BBQ before it shuttered to make way for more stadium parking.

Eye-catching plates showcasing sashimi tuna with leche de tigre and shrimp campechana serve as enticing precursors to more indulgent items like barbecue chicken flautas amped up with guajillo barbecue sauce and carnitas confit sliders.

Real Agave puts a Mexican spin on sliders, incorporating carnitas confit.

Hines

The restaurant's buildout matches the upscale approach to the food. The 2,296-square-foot Gensler-designed space features striking, hand-painted Día de Los Muertos murals above the bar. Hues of blue from the murals reappear on the ceilings of a vaulted corridor with tucked-away banquettes. Natural wood, leather upholstered seating and custom finishes give it a refined and stylish feel.

The new restaurant isn't an extension of El Real, however, Real Agave's food will be prepared in its kitchen and run up by dumbwaiter. Booze, on the other hand, will be more readily available by way of the restaurant's full bar, and is likely to be the focus of many people's post-workday happy hour visits.

A hand-painted Dia de Los Muertos mural graces the bar at Real Agave.

Hines

Beyond traditional and skinny margaritas, the cocktail program features beverages with curious names like The SOB, crafted with mezcal, lime, agave and basil; and the Naked in West Texas with sotol, herbal liqueur, Aperol and fresh lime juice. The proper wine list is mirrored after the one at Floyd's Washington Avenue restaurant Porta'Vino.

Restaurant bars downtown are a hot commodity come 5 p.m. on weekdays. Real Agave will operate from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, but plans for lunch service are in the works.

Real Agave

Find it: Enterprise Plaza, 1100 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002

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