Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - For almost 25 years Archie's Wok has delighted diners' palates with its Asian fusion that has made it Vallarta's Oriental cuisine classic. Don't miss your chance to enjoy their special three-course menu - for only $189 pesos - during Vallarta Restaurant Week 2011.
In 1986, the personal chef of director 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, son Chef Sergio, and lovely daughter, Kiyoki, operate this top dining spot.
When one enters Archie's Wok, it is like walking into a slice of paradise within a slice of paradise - warm inviting Asian setting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Ceiling fans and plants abound in a lovely garden area where a Chinese screen serves as a backdrop for a small stage where D'Rachael sits and performs softly some nights. A white brick wall awakens memories in longtime guests of where the building used to end and now serves as a rear addition.
Feelings of paradise continue upon the presentations of the starting courses on their Restaurant Week menu:
Won Tons with an Asian shrimp filling: Minced shrimp-stuffed won tons were awakened by a dipping sauce made with rice wine vinegar, sugar and microscopic slices of chile de arbol which offers a slight hotness.
Tossed Baby Lettuce and Arugula Salad: The greens were enhanced by a tamarind vinaigrette, a pleasing unusual flavoring, garnished with whole pecans. Crisp and refreshing.
Chilled Pumpkin Soup: Smooth cold soup exhibited the highlights of lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves in a coconut milk stock or base. This Thai concoction is perfect for one warm summer night.
Three entrées were sampled and enjoyed on this occasion:
New Wave Grilled Fish Salad: This surprising dish is a main course salad, consisting of warm char-grilled mahi mahi fillet over a bed of chuka soba noodles which had been tossed in a sauce containing ginger, garlic, chile and other ingredients. Exclamations resounded over its expert creativity resulting in tastes which worked together as one fine Asian treat.
Tapas-style Hoisin Ribs: A small portion of honey BBQ pork ribs was offered. This is their classic, well-known signature dish and one taste will relate why. Moist, sweet and tangy, the tender meat is easily pulled off the bone.
Tofu Stir Fry: Bite-size pieces of tofu were stir fried with caramelized plantains and local yellow string beans in a slightly sweet sauce lacking much kick from the Sichuan-style sauce.
Nearly perfect endings for this lovely meal, jumping with flavors from all over Asia, were:
Philippine-style Coconut Tapioca with Mango: Delicious large pearl tapioca mixed with creamy coconut milk and small chunks of firm fresh mango and guava, then garnished with an enormous slice of mango fanned atop the pudding. A match made in paradise.
Citrus Cloud (Nube De Limón): New to many of us except a culinary professional was a custard-cake dessert, with egg whites causing separation during baking resulting in a thin top cake layer with a thick custard below. The impact of the fresh lime was astounding, leading to another splendid bite.
Gelato of the Day: Offerings this night were passion fruit, chocolate or vanilla. Creamy and great to smooth your taste buds after an invigorating repast.
During Restaurant Week 2011, in addition to their special three-course menu for just $189 pesos, and their beverage offerings that include exotic drinks like the Mint Cascade, you'll also enjoy the quiet soothing music of D'Rachael on vocals, harp and flute each Friday and Saturday from 7:30-10:30 pm.
Puerto Vallarta is blessed with restaurants specializing in cuisines from across the globe. For Asian, Archie's Wok - voted once again as the "Best Asian Restaurant" in Puerto Vallarta in the Virtual Vallarta 2010 Readers' Choice Awards - consistently stands tall against its worldwide rivals.
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.
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 2011 reviews click HERE.