222 Berkeley Street in Boston’s Back Bay is home to Cottonwood Cafe, a southwestern themed restaurant with award-winning margartias. By the pitcher or glass you can order your choice, frozen or on the rocks; or if you prefer sangria they make a traditional red or a mango & watermelon liqueur infused white. We were seated in a booth in the main dining room, surrounded by cactus light fixtures and strings of “Christmas” lights that decorated the wooden beams above us. This was my 2nd time at Cottonwood, but my first time for dinner.
Bread: When my mother asked for bread & the waitress said “let me see what I can find”, I wasn’t surprised. Being at a south-western restaurant I expected chips & salsa instead, but even those weren’t complimentary! We had to order a side of tortilla chips with our appetizers, and they weren’t much to brag about. The tri-colored chips were flakey & could have used a little more salt.
Menu: I was impressed by the amount of options and different types of food: the apps, soups, dinner salads, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees, & specials kept me busy for a while. I eventually settled on the cup of Six Chile Chili & the San Mateo Salad with chicken.
Presentation: The chili came in a small cup garnished with a few tortilla chips & topped with shredded cheddar cheese. I had to spoon out a little excess oil (I can be a tad picky), but other than that I really enjoyed the meat, peppers, & tomatoes. My salad could have been on the boring side with the generic sliced carrots, cherry tomatoes, & celery, but was saved by the dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, roasted almonds, & golden raisins. The citrus habanero dressing added just enough flavor without soaking the lettuce.
Bathroom: Clean with 2 stalls, it felt sort of like a generic public restroom. Separate from the sink was another counter & mirror, with a pretty vase that held some fresh flowers.
Wait Staff: We didn’t see much of our waitress, but she was nice & met our needs. The main course came out before our appetizer dishes were removed from the table which always causes for unneccessary shuffling of plates.
Overall: The menu had a lot of options for a restaurant with a specific theme. If I liked tequila I’m sure I would have really enjoyed their famous margaritas; instead I tried the white sangria, which really didn’t taste like sangria at all. The fruit was almost non-existent (one slice of orange & a maraschino cherry), and the watermelon liqueur really over powered the drink (which I thought was tasty, but it just didn’t resemble a traditional sangria). The prices were reasonable but I wouldn’t rush back.
The Perfect Bite: The tortilla chips made for the perfect spoon to go with my chili!