The restaurant has been completely renovated and is quite inviting. There are booths and tall tables in the bar, a nice dining room with an emphasis on earth tones and natural wood, and more seating outside on the patio with umbrella-covered tables. Since there were six of us, we sat in the dining room, which accommodates large parties with ease.
As soon as we were seated, our server came over and asked if we wanted chips and salsa or guacamole prepared at tableside. We said yes to both. The warm and nicely seasoned chips arrived right away along with bowls of homemade salsa, both hot and mild. The salsa had a really nice flavor with fresh cilantro at the forefront. Even the mild salsa had a nice kick.
The tableside guacamole ($12) is quite a show. A young woman came over and cut open two avocados and placed them in a lava rock mortar. You can customize your guac with ingredients such as chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, spice mix, garlic and lime juice. We opted for them all and the server was soon mashing up some of the best guacamole I’ve ever tasted.
Two of the kids ordered the Beech Tree mac and cheese ($13) and it was a huge hit with the whole table, because of course we all tried it. The cavatappi pasta was tossed with sautéed chorizo and jalapenos and a rich cheddar cheese sauce, then topped with scallions and toasted panko bread crumbs. Creamy, crunchy, spicy — it had it all. If you love macaroni and cheese, this is a dish worth driving for.
I ordered the vegetable burrito ($13) and it was so large, I could only eat half. The soft flour tortilla was filled with an array of grilled vegetables including summer squash, zucchini, red onions, portabella mushroom slices and cubes of butternut squash. The burrito also had black beans, corn salsa and cheddar jack cheese and came nicely grilled. On the side were cups of chipotle crema, sour cream and salsa, as well as polenta bites, which were kind of like corn-flavored French fries.
The pollo enchiladas ($13) came with two corn tortillas stuffed with tender pulled chicken, spinach, Monterey Jack cheese and charred tomato chili sauce. They were rich and delicious. The cheese and onion enchilada dish ($12) our daughter ordered was the only meal none of us liked. The tecate onions had a strong alcohol flavor that overpowered the cheddar jack cheese and charred tomato chili sauce. Both enchilada dishes came with sides of lovely homemade refried beans and flavorful confetti rice.
My husband tried two different tacos for $4.95 each. He chose corn over flour tortillas for both tacos. All tacos come with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and cilantro. The carne asada taco also had marinated and grilled slices of steak that were very tender, pepper jack cheese and ancho crema. The camarones taco consisted of perfectly cooked grilled shrimp and scotch bonnet crema that wasn’t as spicy as he hoped. The tacos were tasty, but they were very juicy which made them messy to eat.
The Beech Tree Cantina has a fabulous wine, tequila and cocktail menu with some interesting choices. We sampled a jalapeno and pineapple margarita ($12), made with blanco tequila, triple sec, housemade agave sour mix, muddled pineapple and jalapenos. It was very good, but the spicy cucumber margarita ($10) was sublime. It was made with silver tequila, Cointreau, house made agave sour mix and pureed cucumber and had a nice spicy jalapeno kick.
Our dinner at the Beech Tree Cantina was both festive and flavorful. The food was well prepared and service was excellent. It’s sure to become a family favorite because the kids are still talking about both the mac and cheese and the guacamole.