Yes, Cactus Club is a chain restaurant, but it is one of the best chains in the city. They’re blessed with having Canada’s only Iron Chef Rob Feenie as their Food Concept Architect. If you ever had the pleasure of dining at Lumiere or Feenie’s when they were open, you’re aware of the kind of quality Rob is famous for.
Food is always consistent at this chain. The dish you can never go wrong with at a Cactus Club is “The Burger”. I compare ever single burger I eat to this one. Why? It’s perfect. The patty is always moist and juicy, the bun is always fresh, and toppings are exquisite. I’m not even a huge burger fan to begin with. I mean sure I’ll eat a burger, but it’s not something I crave. Except this one. And don’t get me started on their fries. Oh lord, they’re also perfect, and always hot out of the deep fryer. They clearly never let their deep fryer oil get too old. Some restaurants will keep their fryer oil far too long, so their chips end up tasting like a medley of flavours that were previously fried: fishy calamari, with a hint of sweet yam, and pork-fat-rules bacon. Nope, these fries are straight up crispy potatoes, lightly seasoned with sea salt.
Another reason Cactus Club restaurants are one of the best chains on the lower mainland is their interiors are always über comfortable: Tall ceilings, spacious comfy booths, and large tables perfect for grabbing drinks after work. The Cactus Club location on West Broadway & Ash is no exception, and is also home to their Test Kitchen & Concept Office, a place where they test and perfect all of their new menu ideas.
BBQ Duck Clubhouse – Barbequed duck, pan seared chicken, and crisp prosciutto on pecan fruit bread. Served with sea-salted fries. Lovely grilled duck breast, oozing with juice, paired exceptionaly well with the nutty sweet bread and salty prosciutto ham.
The Burger – Aged cheddar cheese, cured bacon, sautéed mushrooms, red pepper relish. Also served with sea-salted fries. I know, I raved about The Burger and how it’s always perfect, but this one actually wasn’t up to their standards. Oh the horror! It was served quite pink in the middle. Not feeling like I wanted to gamble with food poisoning, I sent it back. The server was very apologetic, and just as I suspected, my burger returned perfected after about ten minutes. Even the mananger came over to apologize, and took the burger off our bill. That’s right, service first, and above and beyond treatment towards their customers.
Consistently great service, food, and ambiance, that’s why customers continue returning. Why can’t more restaurants in Vancouver ‘get it right’? Apparently they now offer complimentary wifi. Nice.