Intro: My boyfriend and I were at dinner last night, when I suddenly had the idea for him to do a guest post on my blog! We brought up the idea from time to time but never actually went with it. I thought it would be fun to give him the chance to write about our food adventures this time. That’s it from me (Carmen) now, here is the review of Cactus Club in the eyes and tastebuds of the boyfriend!
Hi everybody! It’s pretty exciting to finally be writing the long talked-about guest post. I’m not a writer like Carmen is so my apologies ahead of time. It’s been a busy week for Carmen because of her new internship position, and that along with a bunch of other events happening during the week means that we haven’t had the chance to spend a night just to ourselves. So on a Saturday where neither of us had to work, we finally spent a day together. After a long day spent downtown, including a trip to the Aritzia warehouse sale (post on the haul coming soon!), I decided on going to the Cactus Club Cafe for dinner. Out of all the other similar restaurants (ie. Milestones, JOEY, etc.), Cactus Club Cafe was one of the ones that I still had yet to try. This location is nestled in a busy stretch along Lougheed Highway that also includes a White Spot, Boston Pizza, JOEY Burnaby, and a Browns Social House.
Walking inside, the first thing you notice is it looks really fancy. Carmen mentioned, “it looks way fancier than the exterior would suggest.” The interior consists of wood and glass for decor, which gives it a modern feel. They have a few big screen TVs for those looking to enjoy a game while they drink and dine. We were seated right away by the hostess and told the drink specials that night; $5 Cactus Blonde Ale or $1 off Signature Sangria. Carmen ended up ordering the Signature Sangria. It was made with fresh strawberries and raspberries, zinfandel wine, apricot brandy, sprite, and a splash of bellini. Carmen thought it was really good. The fresh strawberries and raspberries add a lot of fruity flavour that compliments the zinfandel well, and the bellini layered on top added a nice sweetness that went well with the apricot brandy.
We ordered the ceviche as our starter. It consisted of raw steelhead trout, prawns, minced red onions, mint, cilantro, thai basil, lime, and nuoc cham sauce served with tortilla chips. The last time we had ceviche was at Tap and Barrel, and I overdid the lime juice in the ceviche. This time, I was warned not to add too much. The sauce mixes well with the herbs, and the fish and shrimp, cut to the perfect size for dipping, created a dish that was fresh and very flavourful. It is definitely worth trying.
For our entrees, Carmen went with what she had the last time she went to the Cactus Club Cafe: the grilled tuna club. It consists of rare-seared albacore tuna, tarragon tartar sauce, bacon, cilantro, and pickled ginger on a ciabatta bun, served with a side of fries. While she found it good the last time she had it, she thought this time there was too much pickled ginger and tartar sauce that overpowered the taste of the tuna. The fries are your standard fries, but I liked how none of them were soggy. I tried a few bites and loved the grilled taste of the tuna, but I agree that the tartar sauce was a little too much. (See review of Cactus Club Coal Harbour here)
For my entree, I settled on the short rib sandwich. It consisted of beef short rib, caramelized onions, and emmental cheese on toasted sourdough bread with au jus dipping sauce, served with a side of yam fries. The short rib was cooked very tender, and the emmental cheese went well with the beef because of it’s milder flavour. The au jus sauce adds a lot of flavour to the sandwich and some extra moisture to the already tender short rib. The yam fries here were delicious, and crispy as well. No mushy ones to be found. I would definitely order the short rib sandwich again if I was back and looking for something familiar to order.
We were both stuffed by the end of our meal, so we have no dessert thoughts to share. Throughout the night we were looked after very well by our server, and both of us agreed that the service here is excellent. In terms of comparing it to the other similar type restaurants, I thought that the Cactus Club Cafe was definitely on par with the rest. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the Cactus Club though as there was lots of booth seating, and the dim lighting made the quiet night to ourselves all the more private.
So that’s all to this post. I hope you all enjoyed reading my thoughts on the Cactus Club Cafe in Burnaby. As I mentioned above, stay tuned for Carmen’s post on her haul at the Aritzia warehouse sale!
Hope everyone enjoyed the guest post! Perhaps he should write more guest posts in the future? 🙂