Posted on | September 8, 2007 | 10 Comments |
Cactus is one of my favorite restaurants in Kirkland. The cuisine is Mexican/Southwestern but the taste is very different from the regular Americanized Mexican fare we are used to. But I really go here for their Maragaritas! So, when all my lazy friends decided not to drive across the bridge to downtown to spend a girls night out, the only consolation was that the chouce of venue was Cactus.
Cactus is always lively on evenings, the crowd is not that young or hip. Normally a mix of after work crowd, old ladies on a night out, a few family gatherings and some couples on date nights. But regardless of the type of the crowd, the place is always loud and cheery. We hadn’t made reservations, and were given a 30 minute wait period and a buzzer. After walking around town for another happening place that we could go to, we were back at Cactus (It is Kirkland we are talking about) and by sheer luck found an empty table in the bar area. Since we had already drowned a few drinks and a ton of appetizers at M’s place , none of us wanted to order an entree. So we decided to make a meal out of shared appetizers and ended up ordering a ton from their small plates menu.
The cocktail selection is as assorted as the food menu- apart from the traditional Margarita, which is just too good, they have some speciality margaritas, mojitos and other cocktails. I went for a Watermelon-Cucumber Margarita this time, the most refreshing drink I’ve ever tasted! I will be trying to recreate this at home, the cucumber with a hint of mint had this amazing cooling effect, I had to go for seconds. I got to taste the other cocktails as well (I remember something with sage, something with agave and a mango-Cosmo) which were all very tasty, but my favorite was my own drink, I can still taste the freshness.
For food, we ordered most of their tapas or antojitos, and the only dish that slightly disappointed me was the Crispy coconut prawns. The taste was great, the prawns were fresh and succulent, but it was a bit too oily for my taste.
The Grilled Jalapeños stuffed with herbed goat cheese and wrapped in bacon, my favorite appetizer here, wasn’t as spicy as usual. In fact, these were not spicy at all, I guess they used a different type of peppers, or else, they cleaned up the seeds pretty well this time. These used to be burning hot before, the way I like it, but the mild version was pretty good as well, apart from the unfortunate choice for the shape of the plate!
The Blue Corn Calamari with crispy jalapeños, smoked fresno aioli and lime chimichurri was as good as always. This is the best dish to share for a large group of people, the portion size is huge! If you are going as just two people, this alone would fill you up. Look at that chili powder on the side of the plate!
I didn’t taste these fry bread with honey dipping sauce, the idea of fried bread was just so unappetizing to me, but heard it was not that bad!
We went for two types of Quesadillas, grilled vegetable Quesadillas with artichoke hearts, asparagus, chayote squash, red pepper, toasted cumin, jack and goat cheese with charred tomatillo-tomato salsa and Guajillo-lime crema, which I didn’t taste, but the single vegetarian in the group loved. I’m sure it was great, if it was anything like the Smoked Chicken Quesadilla with bacon, Poblano chile rajas and buttermilk crema, which was so good we ordered a second plate.
The last dish was one of the best Asparagus dishes I’ve had at a restaurant, a simple Grilled Asparagus finished with lime and smoked Fresno aioli, the most amazing sauce for asparagus.
Unfortunately we didn’t get any dessert this time, mainly because the kitchen was closed by the time we were done. We were all so stuffed, but we would’ve at least got one to share between the six of us normally, but we were kicked out (very politely of course) of the restaurant at 11:30. That was the end of a wonderful night with some really cool girls, and awesome food and drinks. Who knew we could have so much fun in Kirkland!
If you don’t venture into that side of town, Cactus also has two other locations in Alki and Madison, I haven’t been to either, but the menu is the same, and the pictures look great. http://www.cactusrestaurants.com/