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Sample Platter - Los Agaves, Bond Street Grill and Boken 

Los Agaves

A new amigo on the block, Los Agaves Mexican Grill in downtown Sisters has ignited the area's restaurant scene with an inventive take on familiar, south-of-the-border fare. Sporting the flowering green agave plant on their signs and menus, the famous herb from which tequila is derived, owner and head chef Jimmy Fernandez welcomes old friends and customers with his trademark grin and hospitality.

A quick glance at the lunch menu showed ten items priced between $6 and $7 and choices from Carnitas De Puerco, Chorizo Con Huevos, Quesadillas De Pollo or Tacos De Pescado with fresh Mahi fish. All lunches include two side orders and homemade chips with family recipe salsa.

Agaves also offers a daily happy hour, Mon - Fri, that runs from 2-6pm with small plates, including Jimmy's special nachos for just $4.

Los Agaves Mexican Grill

291 E. Cascade Ave.
Open daily 11a.m. - 9:30 p.m..

541- 549-0777.

click to enlarge thumb_sample-platter_bond-st-grill.jpg
Bond Street Grill

With new ownership in place, the Bond Street Grill is looking to carve a niche in downtown Bend with reasonably priced food and a down home atmosphere that is 100 percent pretension free.

The new menu includes steamed clams, grilled steelhead, a thick grilled pork chop and huevos rancheros, replacing some items like the Anaheim pepper skins, baked shrimp and grits, crab melt and London broil.

On a recent visit, we had the fish tacos special ($6) made with spicy seasoned rock fish, crunchy marinated cabbage and pico de gallo wrapped in warm corn tortillas, making for a delightful textural experience. Other great lunch items include the Florentine soup ($7) and the chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich ($10).

Bond Street Grill

1051 NW Bond St.
541-318-4833, bondstreetgrill.com. Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to close, closed Sunday. Happy hour 3-6 p.m. nightly.

Boken

Michael Murphy's take on a Japanese "Izakaya" restaurant isn't what you'd expect from a chef who is collaborating with Justin Cook, the owner of Bend's popular westside sushi house Kanpai. Murphy and Cook opened Boken last month in the former home of The Downtowner. As you might expect, the execution is spot-on and the ingredients are incredibly fresh. But Boken's menu veers far from what most diners have come to think of as Japanese food.

Instead of sushi and tempura vegetables, Boken serves small yet substantial plates of exotic fare. And instead of a cocktail list heavy on sweet drinks like Mai Tais, Boken's bar leans heavily on select sakes and whiskeys.

In terms of food, a small-plates menu is a blessing and curse, in part because it's easy to order more than you intended. Each item on the menu, which features more than 20 small plates, a handful of "skewer" options and a few side dishes, sounded so tempting that it was hard not to order everything. My companion and I stuck with the kimchee ($5), spring rolls with duck ($7), Japanese-style green lip mussels ($6), the pan-seared tofu ($6), pork belly ($6) and the scallop skewers ($6).

Boken

852 NW Brooks Street. 541-706-9091, bokenbend.com.

Tuesday - Saturday, 4 p.m. - 11 p.m.

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