Last week I wanted to go out for a family celebration with my mother and sister and we agreed upon the Cactus Club restaurant on Kingsway across from Metrotown. As it turned out, our choice was a good choice.
I have not been in a Cactus Club restaurant for quite some time and I was pleased to see the influence that Rob Feenie, Canada’s first Iron Chef and current Executive Chef of the Cactus Club chain of restaurants has had on the Cactus Club restaurants.
The menu items created by Chef Feenie all have an RF listed on the the menu – and that is what influenced my choices. That, and the information that our very informed server brought to our table.
For starters we ordered four items from the Cactus Club Happy Hour menu: Szechuan Green Beans, Crispy Dry Ribs, Sea Salted French Fries and Crispy Yam Fries.
The Szechuan Green Beans are flash fried so they are cooked until crispy and then drizzled with a wickedly delicious balsamic-hoisin-sesame oil glaze. The super thin slices of jalapeno, fresh cilantro and sesame seeds are an added flavour bonus.
I’m not usually a fan of Crispy Dry Ribs but my sister loves them so we ordered them in spite of my voiced concern. Each rib had a generous piece of meat that was nicely seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. I would actually order these again.
The Sea Salted French Fries and Yam Fries were good but a little boring. The little side dishes of aioli with a hint of chipotle seasoning were the awesome part of these appies.
For mains we ordered the Rob’s Hunter Chicken, the Peppercorn Sirloin, and a Cheddar Bacon Burger.
Rob’s Hunter Chicken has shiitake, portabello, button and crimini mushrooms with a demi-glace drizzled over and around the entire meal. The chicken is grilled skin-on making it just that little bit more sinfully delicious. Under the grilled chicken breast were more crispy green beans and Yukon Gold potatoes.
This was the meal that our server told us is her favourite and I now understand why.
We asked for the 9 oz Peppercorn Sirloin cooked medium rare and I was impressed to see it was cooked perfectly medium rare. It was a bit tougher than I was expecting but the pernod peppercorn demi-glace, buttered mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus were all lovely. The asparagus spears, like the green beans on my plate were cooked so that they were a bright green but no further. My favourite.
My sister’s Cheddar Bacon Burger on a gluten-free bun looked amazing. Unfortunately I only had a little taste of the burger patty and not enough to say anything from an informed point of view. I can say that the gluten-free bun was light and crispy. You wouldn’t know that you were eating gluten-free buns if you didn’t know it.
Honestly, my favourite part of the burger was the massive slice of a dill pickle that came with it. Super crisp.
Overall, the meal was beautifully presented, perfectly cooked, and a wonderful celebration for our family. We will definitely return to the Cactus Club restaurant.