In 1986, formerly the personal chef of John Huston founded this Asian fusion place featuring a combination of Thai, Filipino and Chinese cuisines reflecting his heritage. Since 1993, his widow Cyndi Alpenia, chef son Sergio and daughter Kiyoki operate this top spot. Many visitors have avoided eating foods other than Mexican in Puerto Vallarta, but for those who know great food, this multi-Asian destination is quite special, a necessary stop.
Appetizers and Salads featured on this year’s restaurant festival menu started with Thai Seafood Cocktail with shrimp, calamari, jicama, strawberries and aromatic Asian herbs. Seafood was cut into bite-size portions and marinated in kaffir lime, lemongrass and mint. Strikingly delicious, it was presented in a clear glass square bowl highlighting the colorful ingredients.
Spice of Life Salad with crunchy mixed vegetables, peanuts and spicy Chinese dressing consisted of cucumber, red bell pepper, baby corn spears, celery, shaved beet and Napa cabbage. It was a fine mixture of various textures and seasonings.
Poblano Chili Soup with coconut cream, Asian five-spice blend and guajillo chili oils contained crisp fried won ton pieces, corn and lemongrass. The
puréed creation had a sizable kick, was smooth and very pleasing.
From the Main Courses selection, first tasted was the Pan-seared Fish Fillet with gingery hibiscus flower sofrito (a Latin sauce of garlic, onion, paprika, chilies and tomatoes cooked in olive oil). The very fresh fish was albacore, a member of the tuna family and not often seen on local menus. Golden fried fish fillets laid atop mixed greens lightly dressed and fried julienned hibiscus (Jamaica) flowers, crisp and slightly tangy. The whole worked well together and was a subtle yet tasty entrée.
Grilled Beef Skewers with Korean sesame marinade brought large pieces of arrachera, tender, flavorful and properly cooked. Arugula and cherry tomatoes formed a refreshing salad addition.
Coconut-Curry Fried Rice with snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and a choice of shrimp, chicken or tofu occupied a huge platter. The choice of addition was generous, the rice moist and accented nicely by curry and coconut, plus garnished with a basil stem and shredded red cabbage.
Desserts were the finishing touch to a terrific meal. Citrus Cloud was a lemony mixture lightened with beaten egg whites. When baked, the dessert separates into a top moist cake and a bottom lime pudding. Quite luscious, with sweet tartness.
Baked Mango Crumble brought all conversations to a silence. Small fresh mango pieces were mixed into a flour-sugar filling in a round ceramic bowl, then topped with plentiful chunky crumble pieces, which when the top was cracked mixed into the base perfectly. Thin mango slices were arranged artistically alongside.
Gelato of the Day is changed according to the chef each night. On visits, expect passion fruit, Mexican chocolate, vanilla bean and others, supplied by Gelato Di Vinci. Well-made, they are all rich and creamy, a refreshing finale to the event.
This Asian fusion spot is a must for any serious diner in the Bahía de Banderas area. The quality and creativity are unmatched locally and will delight its visitors without doubt.
Francisca Rodríguez 130 OT/SS.
2-11pm Closed Sunday and August 25-October 8.