Food & Drink

Mexican Standoff

It will be a cold day in hell before you find a decent Mexican joint outside the Mission.

Chef Joseph Manzare’s Jaliscan menu at SoMa’s new Tres Agaves pours forth enough fire and brimstone to thaw even the chilliest Mission enthusiast.

Start with spicy crab broth and aguachile de camarones, a sweat-inducing ceviche. Heart-melting chiles rellenos and slow-cooked carnitas make the mercury rise. Glutton for punishment (or simply a glutton)? Chocolate cake with blackberry sauce, chile powder, and whipped cream packs devilish heat in a decadent sweet.

And if the cuisine isn’t enough to warm frosty dispositions, head to the bar. A swig of co-owner Julio Bermejo’s (of Tommy’s fame) Sweet Heat cocktail (with muddled jalapenos) or any of the 100-plus agave tequilas is sure to quicken your pulse.

Designer Jim Zack (Bacar, Globe, Zuppa) has created a fitting backdrop for an evening of spice. The chic Mexican plaza atmosphere is all high ceilings, exposed brick, and touches of iron and stone.

Which begs the question: Could the swanky joint be any hotter?

Like hell it could.

Tres Agaves, 130 Townsend Street, at Second Street (415-227-0500 or tresagaves.com).