Rob Feenie Butternut Squash Ravioli at Cactus Club, The Timeless Art of Seduction
1136 Robson Street, Vancouver
I hope I don’t lose my foodie cred for blogging about a chain restaurant but I have to confess that I am a sucker for them. I look for them when I’m traveling and homesick. Nothing makes me feel better in a foreign country than to spot the Golden Arches peeking out from an unfamiliar skyline. That and a full stock of Seinfeld reruns on my laptop for a reminder of home.
A chain restaurant that I frequent is Cactus Club and I often crave one of the Rob Feenie signature dishes: butternut squash ravioli with truffle beurre blanc, pine nuts and crispy sage. I’m sure this dish was much richer when served at Feenie’s. I never got the chance to try it there, but the Cactus Club version is good enough for me. Served in a shallow dish, each perfectly boiled ravioli is displayed beautifully with a leaf of sage balanced on top.
The creamy, rich and sweet butternut squash filling inside is silky and comforting. It’s like biting into plump pockets of golden lusciousness. It’s a tad upscale for a chain restaurant (it’s a Rob Feenie signature dish after all!) but I’ve had this dish at three Cactus Club locations, and the taste is pretty consistent. The butternut squash filling is rich enough that the dish hardly needs any more help in the flavour department so the light drizzle of butter sauce with the sprinkling of pine nuts and cheese is perfect and elegant.
You get eight ravioli in the dish (there are two stacked in the centre) which may seem measly at a chain restaurant. But trust me, the filling is quite rich and overall the dish is pretty substantial for a dinner.
I did manage to stuff down a side of yam fries though. I love the yam fries at Cactus Club. They come with a side of aioli mayo and the fries are always crispy on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside. Lightly salted, this sweet and salty mix of flavours is the perfect pairing to the sweet butternut squash and salty butter and cheese flavours that I tasted in the pasta dish.
As you know the decor inside Cactus Club is a mix of faux traditional with some hip modern items thrown in like cool chandeliers, random neon words on the wall and for all of you fellow Seinfeld fans out there, I am always amused by the below picture of George found in most Cactus Club bathrooms. Just thinking about that episode makes me giggle.