Sherman's Food Adventures: Archer


Well, this is not really how I wanted to visit Archer for the first time.  No offense to brunch in general, but I originally wanted to come here for dinner.  However, due to a multitude of factors, I never made it out to do that and now we ended up here for brunch instead.  Situated in the former location of Pink Elephant Thai, Archer dishes up West Coast cuisine in a pretty nice dining space.  The brunch menu isn't very extensive, so we were able to get to most of their offerings.

For myself, I went for the Smoked Brisket Sandwich with potato hash, sauerkraut onion slaw, beer mustard and alfalfa on brioche.  I quite enjoyed this sandwich since the Montreal-style smoked brisket was tender with a rebound.  It was also flavourful and complimented nicely by the tangy sauerkraut as well as the mustard.  The aggressively fried hashbrown added some great crunch.  The toasted brioche was light enough to keep the sammie from being too heavy.  As for the house-cut fries, they were limp and soggy.  These needed to be oil-blanched and dried out quite a bit more in order to be crunchy.  I suspect these were not Kennebec potatoes.

Viv had the Croque Madame and it was excellent.  It was chock full of mortadella and gruyere cheese.  Hence, there was no absence of meatiness to the sandwich as well as the saltiness of the meat and nuttiness of the cheese.  The bread was soft and extremely easy to cut through and eat.  Hence, the sandwich was not as heavy as it appeared.  There as plenty of mornay sauce on top that helped moisten the bread as well as adding creamy cheesiness.  A perfectly fried egg finished off this concoction.

My son only had eyes for the Pork Belly Benny and it was an excellent choice.  Look at that thick slice of pork belly (which was melt-in-your-mouth tender) atop what looked to be a slice of baguette.  Due to the egg yolk (perfectly soft-poached) and Hollandaise, the bread was sufficiently soft with some crusty edges.  About that sauce, it was creamy with a good amount of acidity.  Unlike the limp fries, the hashbrowns were crispy.  They were properly salted too.

My dad went for the other non-vegetarian Benedict in the Fish Benny with cold smoked sablefish.  Unlike the pork belly, the sablefish made this dish predictably much lighter.  It had a balanced smokiness and was buttery soft with a light bite.  The medium-poached eggs were done correctly with a runny yolk and firmer whites.  We liked how they added a side salad to break up all the heaviness.

My mom went back to the well and had the Steak Frites with a 6oz Denver cut steak, chimichurri and house cut fries.  She asked for it to be prepared medium-rare but closer to rare and it was done so perfectly.  Nice char on the outside and the steak was sufficiently tender with good flavour.  The blended chimichurri was creamy with a cilantro-forward taste.  Once again, the fries were a letdown as they were limp and too wet.  They were nicely salted though.  So overall, we thought the brunch at Archer was pretty good..  Portions were fair for the price considering its prime Alberni location, welcoming dining space and attentive service.

The Good:
- Brunch in general was prepared well and tasted good
- Excellent service
- Nice dining space

The Bad:
- Those fries were not very good


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