Cactus Club Cafe
Category: Restaurant Review
I bet you thought I forgot about you. Don’t worry, I didn’t. I’ve just been really busy with school and three jobs but now.. now I’m coming back to you!
We’re going to kick this off with a review of Edmonton’s Cactus Club Cafe.
My girlfriend took me here for my birthday and I had been here before with my mom. The first time I went it was just a quick lunch, but this time we were planning on all out gorging ourselves.
I had the Dirty Vegas Martini, I had been really excited to try it because the idea of cracked black pepper with strawberry sounded delicious, and it was. I do prefer my flavored martinis on the rocks though, and I’ll remember that for next time.
So began the gorge-fest.
We started with the Schezuan green beans and their Calamari.
First and foremost, the green beans were simple but delicious. The sauce wasn’t overpowering, but it definitely stood out. I didn’t find it spicy at all, even though there were thinly sliced chilis on top as a garnish. I don’t think it needed the heat though, if it was spicy, it would have overpowered the sweetness of the green beans.
Next came the Calamari which both my girlfriend and I were pleasantly surprised with. It. Was. Huge. At least double the portion of a regular restaurant’s calamari, and even though it comes with red peppers and jalapenos also battered and fried, there was still a large amount of calamari. The batter was great, I’m going to guess it was a tempura batter because it was light and crunchy. Their tzatziki wasn’t the most flavorful, I found it was lacking garlic, but it was a nice balance to the heat of the jalapenos. Also, the addition of fresh dill sprinkled on the calamari was quite nice, and paired so well with the tzatziki.
After a few more drinks, we ordered our meals. I ordered the portabello fajitas and my girlfriend ordered the duck clubhouse sandwich on sourdough instead of the fruit bread that it usually comes on.
We’ll start with her duck club.
When I used to eat meat, duck was one of my favorites when it was done properly. Hers looked perfect. When she took her first bite, the juices dripped from the sandwich, which to me is usually a good sign that the duck is done well and still juicy. She loved it. The menu describes it quite simply as “bbq duck, pan seared chicken and crisp prosciutto on pecan fruit bread” but oh man, did this one look good. She packed half of it up to eat it later, but out of the kindness of her heart she gave it to her mom. She later told me she wholeheartedly regretted giving it away.
Next, my fajitas.
I have a soft spot for portabello, so of course I had to get these. These were easily some of the better fajitias I have had for two reasons: 1) the fajita sauce that the waitress said they put on the mushrooms and 2) the house made guacamole that was UNREAL. I think I would come back JUST for their guacamole. The waitress we had was kind enough to sneak me an extra side from the kitchen to take home. Yum. Back to the fajita sauce though, it was a thicker sauce, perhaps tomato based, but it wasn’t overpoweringly spicy, just delicious and savory atop mushrooms that consistently desire additional flavors. The one thing that surprised me was in the sauteed vegetables for the fajitas, they had broccoli. My girlfriend said she had ordered the fajitas last time and she thought the same thing, but she tried the broccoli in a fajita and couldn’t believe how good it was. Needless to say, I had eaten all the broccoli on their own before I plucked up the courage to try it.
For desert, my girlfriend persuaded me to share the Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar.
For me, it was a little rich, just one or two bites in I was finished. However, for any chocolate lover out there, this is definitely a desert to try. They keep it chilled, so the center was still cold, and decorate it with crunchy chocolate pearls, drizzled in caramel sauce and served with vanilla ice cream. For me, it NEEDED that ice cream, it lightened up a quite heavy desert. However, it could have seemed so heavy just because of how much we had eaten prior to the desert.
Overall it was a great meal, and I will be back to Cactus Club again.
The sleek interior really makes it a perfect spot for date night or girls night.
Plus the washrooms are some of the coolest I’ve ever seen–this sounds really funny but each stall comes individually installed with a mini television set in the door, a foot flush system, and they are overall really clean, a fact which I appreciate the most.
I’ve read a few other bloggers’ posts about Cactus Club, and they I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Joeys and Earls. First off, every experience I’ve had at Earls has been highly disappointing, and for the price, you seem to get a lot more at Cactus Club. Second, Joeys is quite good, but I do think the standard of cleanliness and atmosphere is much better upheld at Cactus Club than Joeys.
I hope you get the chance to enjoy too, my friends!