Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining
|Archie's Wok Restaurant Week Review|
Gary R. Beck - PVNN
May 30, 2010
In 1986, Archie, the personal chef of John Huston, founded this Asian cuisine place featuring a combination of Thai, Filipino and Chinese cuisines reflecting his heritage. Since 1993, his widow Cyndi Alpenia, trained chef son Sergio and lovely daughter Kiyoki have been operating this top spot.
|Open Monday-Saturday from 2-11 pm (closed in September), Archie's Wok is located at Francisca Rodríguez #130 on the south side of Puerto Vallarta. For more information call (322) 222-0411. (photos by Josef Kandoll)|
The result is a very popular restaurant with a lovely patio and a beautifully decorated dining room with a comfortable feeling enjoyed by many guests, including us during Vallarta Restaurant Week 2010.
After the drink order, two sauces arrived in ramekins: one was Cilantro-Coconut Chutney, composed of cilantro, coco sazon (half-ripe coconut), fresh ginger, garlic, lime, & chile serrano; the other was Indonesian Sambal, with red chile de arbol, tamarind paste, piloncillo, garlic, onions, cooked in oil. Both were spread on bread slices.
Starters arrived soon after ordering. East-West Bruschetta was three thick slices of toasted bread topped with fresh diced cherry tomato, Thai basil, capers, balsamic vinegar, Kefir lime and Parmesan cheese. It was dense, rich and multi-flavored, way beyond the typical bland version.
Baby Lettuce and Arugula Salad was accented with strips of roasted poblano chiles, a bit of mango, Feta cheese and tamarind vinaigrette, resulting in a delightful mix of Asian and Latin cuisines. Tropical Cucumber and Tomatillo Gazpacho stood out in the evenings offerings. It was a cool, delicious soup with finely chopped cucumber, jicama and tomatillo, subtly flavored with fresh mint and ginger which jumped out to the foreground. Each spoonful was a testament to the chef's creative mind.
The entrées were delightful. Crispy Pargo Fish Cakes with Asian slaw featured three large cakes of minced fish, fried until golden brown and slightly crispy with the interior remaining moist. The beautiful slaw was brightened with shavings of red cabbage. Alongside were two cups of sauce: wasabi aioli and chile-mint glaze. This was an entrée-sized portion, ample and very tasty.
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Breast proved to be highly Asian with the lemongrass accent and the meat was firm and very tender. Al dente coconut rice featured fresh coconut milk mixed into the rice, making an almost sticky rice concoction. Moist and full-bodied.
Sesame Herb Pesto was actually soba noodles tossed with vibrant basil and garlic, fresh and green with tofu, mushroom chunks and sun dried tomato. Parmesan cheese was served alongside as was gomasio, a dry mixture of toasted black sesame seeds mixed with sea salt at a ratio generally 5:1. Scrumptious is the word of description for this dish. This portion and all others offered were large, vibrant and satiating - but there's always room for dessert!
Sweet Coconut Rice with Mango arrived in a large martini glass filled with slightly warm creamy coconut rice, topped with finely diced fresh mango and accentuated with a fan of mango and a mint sprig. The flavor blended but presented well solo.
Chocolate Truffle Cake was sumptuously chocolate, flour less, with a taste of espresso, topped with a dark chocolate ganache and embellished with strawberry slices and mint leaves. Rich and smooth, it was a chocoholic's dream. For a simpler finish, Gelato of the Day was offered.
Chinese sesame cucumbers and a large serving of Hoisin Honey BBQ Ribs are signature dishes one must sample at least once. A creative list of exotic tropical drinks is offered. Worth mentioning are the Mint Cascade, Sichuan Margarita, Manila Cooler and Gin & Ginger.
Voted "Best Asian" every year from 2005-2009 in Virtual Vallarta's Reader's Choice Awards, Archie's Wok features the quiet and soothing music of D'Rachael "Best Local Musician 2006" on vocals, harp and flute, every Friday & Saturday night from 7:30-10:30 pm.
Ceiling fans and lovely plants abound, making this restaurant an oft-repeated stopover for tastes of many backgrounds, melding as one, but each ingredient is allowed to shine forth. We left the lovely rooms and attentive staff and cordial owner and family, already planning a return visit.
Open Monday-Saturday from 2-11 pm (closed on Sunday and the month of September), Archie's Wok is located at Francisca Rodríguez #130 on the south side of Puerto Vallarta. For more information, call (322) 222-0411.
The author was supplied one choice in each of the 3 courses on the special Restaurant Week menu and this review is in no way connected to his independent restaurant guide, "Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Guide Beck's Best", where write-ups receive no compensation.
Restaurant Week continues through May 31st at some of the most recognized restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. For a list of participating restaurants and Restaurant Week 2010 reviews click HERE.