The drinks are way over-priced. The food prices are a little bit high, too. The decor, some of which seems to be new, is hideous. Despite all of this, I like going to Cactus Pear…occasionally. I guess the reasons are that it is a break from the Ludlow regulars (lots of Indian, Thai that is getting progressively worse–with awful sushi, hit and miss burritos, wonderful Dewey’s, etc.), if it is warm enough there is a great little outdoor seating area, and the food is actually pretty decent. I am a fan of the burrito, although it really is not a burrito in the ‘I can pick this up and eat it with my hands’ sense of the word. It is definitely a knife and fork ordeal. It isn’t spicy, which is generally my preference, but the ancho and tomatillo sauces are sweet (not too sweet) and refreshing, and accompany the spanish-style rice, black beans and chicken breast nicely. I would suggest that they cut up the chicken breast a bit more–after cooking–because it is far too large for inside of a soft tortilla.
Other items the wife and I have tried are the tacos (my wife’s standard), which we like, but with the same caveat about the chicken breast, the fried calamari, which is pretty good, but is a little over-coated in batter and is over-cooked half the time making it rubbery, and the chips and salsa, which consists of good salsa and terrible chips. The salsa is very different from your standard salsa. It is not tomato, onion and cilantro-based like most, but instead is based around olive oil and a pureed, roasted (I think) sweet pepper.
I would not recommend going to Cactus Pear with any great frequency, but if you like to go out to eat or like to avoid cooking three or four nights a week, go to Cactus Pear once every two months or so…especially if it is warm out.