When Rice, Salad and Grilled Chicken Make For a Feast Worth Returning To

By Josh Resnek

This is a food bit about a great, quick, all the time feast of the first order available from early in the day until very late at night at a place called Cactus in Maverick Square East Boston.

I know. I know. Going from Everett to East Boston for a meal is like traveling from Rome to Mexico City for the locals here.

That being said…if you like grilled chicken, rice, salad, beans and all the fixings, and you want be brave and try it out, go to Cactus in the square.

It is an experience.

First off, not many people inside the restaurant speak English.

This includes employees, mostly women, and customers, nearly everyone is Mexican, Central American, Hispanic and on and on.

A few Anglos get mixed in, like me and my sons and their friends. Here’s the deal.

This is not the type of place you to for what food critics refer to as “ambiance.”

There is not much ambiance at Cactus – just hearty plates of food being dished out at every hour of the day and late into the night.

There are perhaps a dozen tables and a few seating areas near to the windows that look out on the frenetic comings and goings in Maverick Square. It is open from 6am-10pm

Cactus Mexican Grill serves chicken and beef tacos and burritos, chicken Quesadilla, steak barrito and the whole panalopy of desired treats.

I always choose the same. This I my fate – to love certain treats, to order them over and over, and to enjoy them every time.

I order grilled chicken at Cactus.

It is always a bit charcoal black, par cooked and then heated briefly before being dropped onto a large round plate.

This is followed by a generous serving of rice – and the rice has just the right taste and texture. I also order salad with the Cactus home made thick Italian style dressing that is sweet and sumptuous.

Here’s how it works for me after receiving my plate and paying about $11 for it.

I usually sit at the window seat, grab a plastic fork and knife and I begin.

A piece of grilled chicken, a bit of rice and a scoop of salad. I press all that into my mouth. I taste it. I chew it. I delight in all of it.

And you can do the same – and if you live for cooked beans, well, Cactus has plenty of beans for you.

Check it out.

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