Sometimes returning to a favorite restaurant after a long absence is like being reunited with an old friend. Fond memories are stirred, new appreciations blossom, and one marvels at the soulful consistencies that have managed to endure. Other times, the reunion is more like getting together with an ex-girlfriend – less happy memories and madeleines, and more befuddlement, bathos, and barely lukewarm oxtail pavé. Such was the case when I returned to Diva at the Met last week, a place I had always considered if not notable, then at the very least reliable. A cut well above your average, overpriced hotel restaurant. It was where, every few months, my fellow producers and I (and, occasionally, Chris Judge) would gather for burgers and chocolate bars. More to the point, Diva’s signature DC Burger, a home made patty topped with braised short rib, wild mushroom ragout, foie gras, and white truffle oil, and the Thomas Haas-designed chocolate dessert.
Unfortunately, on my last visit, I made the mistake of going off-book. I started with the roasted purple garlic velouté which looked fabulous on paper (scallion purée, sunchoke, crispy rice) but turned out be a harsh and heavy-handed mishap. Carl and Stephanie ordered the Dungeness crab salad with hass avocado and hearts of palm which proved beautiful to look at yet disappointingly bland in flavor.
While Marty G. and Carl went the burger route and were not disappointed. I was served a potato and braised oxtail cauliflower pavé served atop a bed of white beans, a dish that had clearly been left sitting, forlorn, while my fellow diner’s plates were prepared. It was dry and barely lukewarm. The accompaniments skirted the fine line between “sides” and “garnish”, a slice of mushroom, two thin slices of an asparagus tip, two slender green beans, and a lone cipollini onion. Now I’m usually not one to argue price point as I don’t mind paying a little more for quality ingredients, but you’d think that for $42, they’d have thrown in the entire asparagus.
Service was frustrating. Even though the dining area was less than a quarter full, our waiter was MIA through most of our meal. At one point, I had to actually flag him down and ask him to clear our plates. When he proved bewilderingly reluctant to swing by and take our dessert orders in a timely manner, we elected to just grab the bill and go.
In the end, a far from happy culinary reunion. Unless you’re ordering that specialty burger, Diva at the Met is little more than your average, overpriced hotel restaurant.
Today’s pics: Yeah, I could’ve posted pictures of my crappy meal but, really, why bother? Here’s some pics of the dogs instead.
Squall78 writes: “Does it look like there will be any more eps besides the original 5 for the beloved Carson Beckett.”
Answer: It’s too early to say at this point.
AMZ writes: “I have a question about Inquisition. Will there be clips from previous episodes in it?”
Answer: Looks like it.
PG15 writes: “1. Who’s getting the great honor of writing the 100th episode of Stargate Atlantis, 520? 2. When you take pictures on set, do you take them soley for the blog, or for other reasons as well?”
Answers: 1. Right now, it looks like Paul will be doing the honors. 2. I only snap pics with the intention of posting them to this blog.
Kimberly writes: “Any chance seeing the ‘bugs’ which Michael was creating making a return ? Also will Teyla and the Wraith Queen have a showdown ? Will Teyla bring forth newer and more powerful gifts ?”
Answers: The hybrids we saw in Kindred I and II were the next step in the evolution of the bugs we saw in Vengeance. Any wraith queen in particular? The Queen will show off the Teyla character in a very interesting way.
Keirberos writes: “Am I right in guessing the reason you’re not disclosing ‘who’, despite the multitudes asking, is for privacy?”
Answer: Nope. If it all falls through next week, I’ll tell you exactly who you can send your angry letters to.
1norriski writes: “The orginial airing was 2 hours together the reairing was 2 hours just in different parts why the need to cut out so many sceens?”
Answer: That was a network decision and had absolutely nothing to do with us. Sorry.
Padawan Aneiki writes: “How do you choose the order in which to shoot an episode?”
Answer: A number of factors are considered when one of our Assistant Directors is putting together a schedule. For instance, we’ll usually try to accommodate a guest star by shooting their days concurrently so that they don’t have to hang around, sitting on their hands. Sometimes, a guest actor may be unavailable on certain days of a shooting schedule. We also try to group like locations together. For instance, if the script calls for scenes in the gate room, conference room, corridors, or Woolsey’s office, they will be grouped because they will all be shot on Stage 6. It doesn’t make sense to shoot a corridor scene, then pack everything up and move over to the FX Stage to shoot a village scene, then pack it up and head across town to shoot a forest scene. We shoot about eight pages a day, so the key is to play mix and match, marrying certain scenes in order to build a day at a specific location. In short, it’s a lot like piecing together a complex puzzle. There’s no “right answer”, only a “best answer”.
PG15 also writes: “1. Are the mid-season 2-parter given 2 clues, like The Kindred Part 1 and 2 each getting a line in the poem? 2. Are they for the first 14 episodes of the season (minus The Queen, since you guys made that up after you wrote the poem), or are they for just 14 episodes within the season? I ask because I have a hunch that “While myriad permutations are viewed from space” refers to the 100th episode.”
Answer: Actually, two clues for the two-parter – and both apply to part one. 2. The hints refer to 14 episodes within the body of the fifth season. And your guess is incorrect.