From June 2005 Cheap Eats
The popular Cactus Cantina in Cleveland Park has the same ownership as its even more popular sister establishment, Lauriol Plaza near Dupont Circle, and a nearly identical menu. One reason for the restaurants' success is they just do things better than their Tex-Mex competition. It starts with the basket of warm, crisp tortilla chips and bowl of spicy salsa that immediately arrive at your table, a great accompaniment to the tart margaritas.
You can see what sets these restaurants apart if you order beef fajitas. Overcooked and dry at many places, here the beef is grilled over a mesquite fire and beautifully pink in the center. Grilled meat and seafood are a specialty here. Grilled shrimp are plump and perfectly cooked. Quails are marinated in herbs and emerge from the grill with a crisp skin and moist flesh. Even the often-abused chicken breast is moist and delicious. It's no wonder that on weekends, and often during the week, you're likely to have to wait for a table–but that's pleasant enough in the bar.