Cactus Grill Restaurant – Clearlake

Last weekend we headed to Sonoma and the Lake county for a little vacation. Our last evening, a Monday night in July 2008, we stayed in Clearlake Oaks, a very small town on the eastern side of the lake. Monday night is a bad night to eat at Clearlake Oaks. There are very few restaurants to begin with, and none of them were open that evening. Our only recourse if we wanted to eat was to drive to the city of Clearlake proper – not a very long drive, but it was getting lake.
There are a few Chinese and Mexican restaurants at the entrance of Clearlake, as well as what I imagine is an American restaurant at one of the hotels. Mike wanted something else, however, so we drove all our town, unsuccessfully as it turned out. We ended up at the Cactus Grill almost by default. It wasn’t a bad thing, as our meal, though not spectacular, was satisfying enough.
The little restaurant has a small dining room and patio – the dining room wasn’t air conditioned and it was an extremely warm night, so we decided to eat outside. It was quite pleasant.
Service was quite good, the waiter brought us chips immediately – though I had to ask before being told that they had a salsa bar inside. They had about 8 salsas to chose from, both mild and hot, the one closer to pico de gallo that I chose was pretty good.
Mike had one of their burritos, and he was quite pleased with it. It was large and tasty. I had the carne asada plate – which came with rice, beans, guacamole and salsa, as well as huge, very hot, flour tortillas (corn tortillas are also available). It wasn’t really different from a fajitas plate. The carne asada was a bit (only a bit) tough, but it had a very pleasant, somewhat vinegary, marinade. There wasn’t a lot of it (specially as I don’t eat either rice or beans), but I was satisfied. The guacamole tasted commercial, the type of bagged guacamole you can get at Safeway or Costco. It wasn’t bad, but I would have preferred homemade, fresh guac.
In all, it was a nice dinner. I wouldn’t be hurrying back, but if I was in the area I might visit it again.
Cactus Grill Restaurant
3900 Bayliss Ave
Clearlake, CA
(707) 994-0905
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