Diva at the Met

I haven’t been out for a nice meal in a while, and my palate was itching for something different and tasteful. I’m not into cheap deals, I’m into flavor. I ended up making reservations at Diva at the Met, just steps from where I now work. From my last two visits here, under the direction of executive chef Quang Dang (now at West), I remembered the food was unique and presumptuous. Can the Diva maintained her stature?

Please also see my previous visit at Diva when I had the DC Burger (not sure if this is still available).

After Dang left, the brigade in the kitchen is now led by Hamid Salimian. Chef Salimian built his reputation from his innovative and modern approach to cooking. You can read about his accolades here. Maybe it is his resume that helped Diva garnered her a bronze place in this year’s Best Upscale Restaurant 2012.

Not wanting to put all my eggs in one basket and being the no-nonsense type of guy, I asked for the seven courses diva tasting menu. In addition to the seven courses, it also came with five amuse bouche. Truth be told, I’m looking for an experience, a show in my mouth, a quest to level up my palate, an art performance, and not just getting my dollars worth of food for sustenance.

As a preview of what was to come, the first of the amuse bouche arrived, and it was the Chicken bacon. Chicken that was cooked like a bacon, it was a piece of meat with intense salty flavor.

Mussel coal. Mussel bread with squid ink aioli. This was a bit on the salty side.

Foie gras walnut. I loved the foie gras. It was intense in flavor, unlike the foie I’ve had of late. It was rich, buttery, and can be used as a spread like a pate. The quince puree was very sweet and sour in comparison which somewhat overpowered the foie gras.

Frozen kimchi with lobster. This was like a little show in itself. First bite in was the frozen kimchi, and it was a little bit sweet. When the ice melted, it was then the spice of the kimchi kicked in and heated up my mouth. This was balanced by the lobster which hid underneath. Quite an experience and good use of ingredients.

Frozen watermelon soda. The final of the “snacks”, this served as a palate cleanser.

My first real course for the evening was the icicle radish with oyster, trout roe, romaine. I love the bold, strong flavor from the radish. The romaine dressing, which was poured just before serving, went well with the actual romaine. They tasted similar, but obviously with different textures, so you’ll get a nice little exercise figuring that out with your tongue and palate. The oyster aioli provided some taste right from the sea side while the trout roe’s unique taste and texture showcased more contrast in this otherwise simply executed salad dish.

Wild onion, with 360 organic egg, lily bulb puree, olive oil, and garlic crouton. I went into a frenzy when I saw the seasoned egg in the middle, and I broke it before I can take the picture. Oops. On the bright side, the egg was runny but not too watery. The perfect balance. After I had broken the egg, I mixed it with the lily bulb puree and mopped it up with the onion and the crouton. The mixture’s taste and texture, just beautiful. I would have this again!

Razor clam, with sunchoke, hon shimeji, tarragon. The whole dish taste fairly acidic with the sauce and rubbery with the mushrooms and clams. The sunchoke leave was crispy and sweet, a stark contrast to the rest of the dish. The dish also offered some asparagus which provided even more contrast to the overall taste. Despite the rare ingredients, this was my least favorite dish of the night.

Porcini, with proscuitto, egg noodle, chervil, and porcini broth and paste. Commented by the server that this was her favorite, it might as well be mine also. The star here was the big chucks of porcini mushrooms, it was meaty and spongy. The broth had a strong, salty taste and packed with flavor, and it complemented the mushrooms well. The two pieces of egg noodles had a slightly chewy texture and gave the elements some contrast. Asian inspired, simply executed, this was indeed a delicious dish.

Smoked black cod with wild ramps, fiddleheads, and morels served with a Japanese fish stock (which I forgot the name). Again, strong, salty, and packed with flavor, the broth was delicious. But the star of the show here was no doubt the cod. These chucks of poached cod just unbelievably melted in my mouth. I’ve never had fish with a texture quite like it, it was mind blowing, and this was worth the trip alone. The smoky taste of the cod was further augmented by the delicious broth which created a wonderful combination of flavors. Lots of things going on in here. Amazing dish.

Saddle of rabbit: rabbit meat wrapped in tyrol bacon, with carrots, truffle puree and rabbit au jus. Ultra tender, the rabbit meat was juicy and succulent. I can taste the paper thin bacon which was wrapped around the rabbit. The truffle puree and the rabbit au jus (poured by the server just before serving) made the dish much more decadent and rich. The carrots, which were cooked perfectly, was there to cut down the richness of the dish. Although the execution was not as creative as the other courses, it was the flavors and the richness that delivered.

Rhubarb with gin, blossoms and spruce. I was expecting something sweet, but this was something completely different. It was sour and tangy in taste.

Service was impeccable, and I was well taken care of from my first course to the last. Staff were very knowledgeable about their food and gave their personal recommendations. I love most of the dishes tonight and I have to say this is one of the best menu I’ve tasted this year. I just thought it’s sad that this restaurant is just underrated and they deserved more attention. In terms of the food, there is definitely no excuse to not get the tasting menu, and all five amuse bouche and seven courses will make this a fulfilling meal and an unforgettable experience.

Please also see my previous visit at Diva when I had the DC Burger (not sure if this is still available).

Snapshot:

Name: Diva at the Met
Address: 645 Howe St. Vancouver, BC Canada V6C 2Y9 (Map)
Phone: 604.602.7788
Web: www.metropolitan.com/diva
Menu: Link
Dishes You Must Try: Wild Onion, Porcini, Smoked Black Cod, Saddle of Rabbit
OpenTable Profile: Link
Diva at the Met on Urbanspoon Rating: 82% (out of 139 votes, as of this writing)
DineHere Rating: 4/5 (out of 64 reviews, as of this writing)
Yelp Rating: 3.5/5 (out of 34 reviews, as of this writing)
Finest Dish’s Quality Rating: 4.5/5
Finest Dish’s Service Rating: 4/5

Gallery:

This entry was posted in Downtown, International, Reviews, Vancouver. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Diva at the Met

  1. avatar hamid says:

    Thank you for coming down to diva….

  2. avatar Jason Chu says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring menu and your visit to this poky food blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


× seven = 28


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>