Rob Feenie's Signature Dishes At Cactus Club
By: George Froehlich
Rob Feenie. A Canadian culinary superstar.
For the last few years he has been working as a food concept architect for the Cactus Club.
Before that he was the chef at one of Canada's top restaurants, Feenie's in Vancouver, before a falling out with his business partners.
When Cactus Club hired him he was handed a singular mission - kick it up a notch, the food that is.
And he has certainly done that.
His Cactus Club dishes, all have the RF logo beside them.
And they deliver what Feenie is known for - superb food with great flavours and textures.
Our adventure into RF land was a tapas-style meal - four appetizers in all.
The beef carpaccio, a peppercorn-crusted tenderloin, was tender and moist, the Dijon mustard aioli, gave the thinly-sliced meat punch and pizzazz, pickled shallots, added required acidity, a great counterpoint to the richness of the tenderloin. Parmesan and five-herb crostini, provided crunch, a new direction for traditional carpaccio.
But, and this is a big but, the deep fried capers were like little salt balls, dominating the dish and thus spoiling it.
The Butternut squash ravioli, bathed in a truffle beurre blanc sauce, huge super sweet sauteed prawns atop the three ravioli's, was outstanding.
Wow, what a dish.
The ravioli's were topped off with tiny crumbs of Amaretti (an Italian cookie made with almonds, sugar and flour) and a bit of shaved Reggiano Parmigiano.
The perfectly cooked al dente pasta with the creamy, yet earthy butternut squash, were the perfect complement to that stunning truffle beurre blanc sauce.
Crunchy pine nuts and crisp sage leaves atop the squash added another dimension to a simple yet complex divine dish.
The Rocket salad of sliced chicken breast breaded with Panko and Parmesan, was light and so flavourful.
Baby arugula, cucumbers, tomatoes and big sliced chunks of zucchini with cubed colored peppers, provided a great medley of garden greens.
The flavour of the chicken and the cheese came through the tartness of the lemon caper sauce dressing.
Our three cheddar cheese bacon mini-burgers were terrific. You could actually taste the beef, unlike so many other hamburgers that taste like dried sawdust. Again a wonderful combo of different flavours made these hamburgers so delish.
The red pepper relish completed the dish.
Desert, key lime pie, did not have the required tartness of these tiny little gems, the Graham cracker crust sweet, but salt dominated it. It all added up to something that lacked real flavour and taste.
Perhaps Rob Feenie should step in and work his magic on this desert.