This weekend two of my best childhood friends came to visit from New York City. They have both made regular trips to Boston for years, so I always try to suggest meals at restaurants they have not yet been to. This Saturday night we decided to dine at Cactus Club on Boylston Street.
I had only been to Cactus Club once before and it was on Cinco de Mayo which was total mayhem. It was so busy that we just had drinks at the bar and left to find grub at another location. I had been wanting to go back to check out the food, but hadn't had a chance. Their Boston visit seemed the perfect occasion!
As we headed downtown, someone in the group suggested we call to put our name on the list. Thankfully, Cactus Club allows this and when we arrived twenty minutes later, we checked in at the hostess stand and were immediately brought to a table. I should also note that Cactus Club has complimentary coat check!
We were seated in the back room of the restaurant at a round table that was a bit oddly placed. It was right next to the stairs that the servers use to come up and down with the food, so there were constantly servers snaking around our table.
The decor in the back room is Western kitsch. There is a brightly colored mural along the back wall, longhorn antlers hanging from the ceiling, and a coral/teal color scheme throughout the room.
Our waiter arrived at the table and he was awesome! He was young, high energy and knew every line item on the menu. He took our drink order and magically re-appeared with the cocktails and a glass of ice water for everyone.
I went with the watermelon margarita (sugar rim), two of the girls shared a carafe of sangria, and the lone boy at the table ordered a Dos Equis. I ordered my margarita on the rocks, which was a mistake. I think the fruit margaritas taste best frozen.
The ladies raved about the sangria. Our amazing waiter even brought them more ice as they worked their way down the carafe.
We arrived starving so we ordered two appetizers: the guacamole and the queso. The guacamole was fresh and garnished with chopped tomatoes and a light sprinkling of cheese.
The queso was literally bubbling it was so hot and it was garnished with crushed tortilla chips, diced tomatoes and fresh jalapenos. It was served with warm flour tortillas, which I had never seen before at a Mexican restaurant. I'd only seen queso served with chips.
When we devoured the chips and tortillas, our waiter showed no hesitation in re-filling our chip bowl so we could scoop up every last bite of both dishes.
We tried several entrees for dinner. To my left landed the vegetable fajita which was a crackling plate of zucchini, squash, portabello mushroom, onions, peppers, tomatoes and corn served with flour tortilla, cheese, sour cream and salsa. The dish received a rave review!
To my right was a make-your-own quesadilla: a wheat tortilla (a lovely option over the usual white flour), cheese, avocado and portabello mushroom. She also had sweet potato fries and black beans on the side.
Across from me, a friend was enjoying her sweet potato fries (direct quote, "These are the best sweet potato fries I have ever had!"), but not her pollo loco sandwich. The sandwich was too dry. We'll know for next time.
I ordered the enchilada special, which was spinach and mushroom enchiladas with a salsa verde. The enchiladas were so incredibly delicious and not heavy (a major bonus). I only ate two of the three, but my taste buds wanted the whole plate!
Let's face it, it wouldn't be a Pop.Bop.Shop. meal without dessert! Given the varying dessert preferences at the table, we opted for two selections: the banana chimichanga and the fried ice cream.
The banana chimichanga was banana wrapped in pastry, dusted with cinnamon and sugar and served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. The whole plate was drizzled in caramel!
The fried ice cream came in an edible bowl and topped with hot fudge. The best fried ice cream is at Rudy's in Teele Square in Somerville, but this was still quite enjoyable.
Minus the location of our table, everything about Cactus Club was divine. The ability to call in our name, the complimentary coat check, our incredibly kind and friendly waiter, and of course, the mouth-watering food and drinks!
Cactus Club is a great place for a large group and the perfect atmosphere for a spirited celebration. We witnessed two birthday parties and that was only the start of the night!
Have you been to Cactus Club? What is your must-order menu item?