Sherman's Food Adventures: Cactus Club (Coquitlam)

Cactus Club (Coquitlam)

Recently, I participated in the Chevy Spark event where we drove one of those micro cars around doing a semi-Amazing Race sort of challenge. Boy, it was pretty embarrassing asking complete strangers to help us with our tasks! What? Who wouldn't want to be photographed filing their nails??? Yah, imagine asking some random person to do that! In the end, we finished last due to a time-consuming detour. No matter, we all were winners because everyone got some gift cards and lunch at Dockside. However, Viv and I scored (no, not like that!) since we won a $150.00 gift card to Cactus Club. Well, I guess I scored because that would be a reason for a foodgasm. So what to do with it? Go eat of course! We gathered up the family including the grandparents and high-tailed it to the Coquitlam Cactus Club. Technically, we are closer to the Brentwood location, but the lack of parking and the long lineups were not something we wanted to deal with. Honestly, there is not even remotely enough parking for both Cactus Club and Boston Pizza at that location (even if most of the cars there are for Cactus Club... LOL). Although Cactus Club does not give the appearance of a kid-friendly joint, there were pencil crayons and colouring sheets for them.

We started with 2 appies being the Thai Wings and Dry Ribs. I remember when Cactus Club would have their wing special and we'd go nuts with several dozen for each person. At times, the wings would be moist and sometimes it would be fried far too long. I guess with Chef Feenie at the corporate helm, consistency has gotten better (we've had the wings a few times in last little while and they have been good) as the Thai wings were crispy on the outside and still sufficiently moist on the inside. I wouldn't classify them as juicy, but for non-Asian prepared chicken wings, these were not dry at least. The Thai glaze was just barely clinging on each wing (which is the right amount) and had a nice balance of sweet, spicy and salty. The Dry Ribs lived up to their namesake and were pretty dry on the outside. They were not that dry on the inside where there was some meat juices (or was that fat) flowing still. They were pretty typical, but did the job and went well with the Ugly Ale.

For my main, I went for one of my standbys whenever I'm at Cactus Club being The Burger. A Rob Feenie creation, it consisted of a seasoned certified Angus chuck patty, aged cheddar cheese, cured bacon, sautéed mushrooms and red pepper relish. It may not sound like anything that interesting (and in fact, it isn't), but it was a solid burger nonetheless. The patty was substantial and moist while the bacon was thick and all of the other ingredients were fresh. My dad had something lighter in the Fish Tacos. I've had these before and again, a very solid offering. Let's not get into the authenticity debate and where we can get these cheaper. For what they are, they are prepared nicely. The fish was not wet while the fresh ingredients kept it light.

Viv had the Shortrib Sandwich with caramelized onions, beef jus and Emmental cheese on toasted sourdough, which was pretty much consistent with the other times I've had it. Essentially an upscale beef dip, the shredded short rib wasn't exactly moist (a bit dry this time), but it was easy to chew. When dipped into the "gravy", any dryness issues were alleviated. Yet another sandwich I've had before was the BBQ Duck Clubhouse with pan seared chicken and crisp prosciutto on pecan fruit bread. As like last time, the meats were a bit dry and chewy, so it wasn't the easiest thing to eat, but the flavours were nice - sweet and salty.

My mom had the biggest meal of the bunch being the Four Mushroom Sirloin consisting of a 7oz Certified Angus Beef with shiitake, portabello, button and crimini mushroom demi. The sauce was flavourful, woodsy and rich. It went well with the creamy mash potatoes. As for the steak, it was not as tender as we would've liked. Yes, we realize that sirloin is generally not as tender as striploin or tenderloin, but this was a bit too chewy for our tastes. It was prepared a perfect medium-rare though. For the kiddies, they split an order of Chicken Tenders with honey mustard dip and sea-salted fries. Please note that the picture is only a half-order since they literally split it in half (even the odd numbered chicken strip). The chicken was moist while the panko breading really made it crunchy. Despite not appearing to be a kid-friendly establishment, they did a pretty good job accommodating the kiddies. In fact, we had a good time at Cactus Club (it didn't hurt that most of it was paid for either...). Despite my aversion to chain restaurants, I will say it and say it again, Cactus Club does a good job (even though it ain't cheap).

The Good:
- Generally good eats
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- Pricey
- Food was pretty good except some proteins were either dry or chewy
- Menu could use an update

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