Diva at the Metropolitan Hotel on Howe Street’s focuses on delivering Pacific Northwest flavours through breakfast, lunch, and dinner with playful twists on classic dishes. I popped in for a power lunch earlier this month to experience Executive Chef Hamid Salimian’s latest offering – the Food Truck-Inspired Lunch.
John and I first met Chef Hamid in Whistler back in 2010 and we had the pleasure of experiencing his creative culinary talents a few months later when he was at a hotel restaurant in Richmond. His dishes were gastronomical wonders, I wrote: “I had never seen a puffed fois gras, a powdered popcorn crumble on an amuse bouche, fried salmon skin that tasted like wood smoke and marshmallows, or a shrimp bar with soy caviar and squid ink garnish. Even the classic beef tenderloin was topped with a buckwheat crisp. The dishes burst with flavour and made a conscious effort to combine textures playfully.” Fortunately, Chef Hamid is still as adventurous with techniques and flavours as ever over at Diva at the Met.
With food trucks being a popular lunchtime stop around downtown, Diva at the Met decided to play on their popularity and truly make some of their dishes their own with the help of Chef Hamid’s imagination.
Food Truck-Inspired Menu
- Butter chicken basmati rice, cilantro yogurt, fried cauliflower, lime
- Barbecue eel banh mi sandwich chicken liver pate, pickled carrot, daikon, cilantro (choice of fries or salad)
- Classic poutine french fries cheese curds, beef brisket, gravy
- Diva corn dog truffle mayo, grainy mustard, house made sauerkraut & thrice cooked kenebec fries
Each item from the food truck menu (which is not prepared in a truck but in Diva’s open kitchen) is $17 which gives the Diva Corn Dog the distinction of being the most expensive corn dog in Canada [HuffPo].
“Our food truck-inspired dishes, especially the Diva Corn Dog, take classic street foods and amp them up with high-end ingredients and bold flavours,” said Chef Salimian. “We’ve had great feedback on the Diva Corn Dog since it was first introduced, which is why we’re giving it a permanent home on our menu – it’s fun, yet sophisticated and shows how you can turn something as humble as a corn dog into a showstopping menu item.” [Press Release]
I of course had to try the Diva Corn Dog. I quickly found out that it is not your run of the mill corn dog though, it is seriously gourmet. The homemade sausage is comprised of sweetbread, bone marrow, truffle and foie gras. It’s incredibly decadent with a crunchy cornmeal exterior and I enjoyed each bite that I swiped through the truffle mayo. The sauerkraut was a nice touch as well, adding crisp and contrasting flavours – something Chef Hamid does very well.
My lunch date (the lovely Mom604) decided on the lobster grilled cheese on brioche, which came with kenebec fries (no longer available).
The staff was friendly and attentive, the atmosphere was a nice calming contrast to the bustle of the downtown streets outside, and an hour was more than enough time for us to enjoy our meal and not feel rushed before returning to work. In fact we even had time for dessert: a selection of sorbets and The Oreo with vanilla pudding, aerated chocolate, cassis sorbet.
The Diva Corn Dog is a permanent menu item and the rest of the food truck items get changed up every so often. Diva also offers a prix-fixe lunch menu which is refreshed as seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients become available. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their latest menu offerings.