Yesterday, I hit the 151 page mark of the SF miniseries Paul and I are working on.  That’s 12 acts down and four to go!  I celebrated by going out for a nice dinner.

Surprisingly, it’s been a while since I sat down to an inspired multi-course meal.  Even more surprisingly was where we enjoyed it last night: Diva at the Met, the somewhat staid restaurant in the Metropolitan Hotel where the Stargate gang and I used to go for their signature burgers topped with foie gras, short rib, crispy onions and white truffle oil (on the occasions when Chris Judge would join us, he’d actually have two!).

It had been a while since I’d been to Diva, but I’d heard intriguing talk of a new chef, Hamid Salimian, seasonal ingredients, and touches of modernist cuisine.

We (who am I kidding?  I!) elected to go with the seven course Chef’s Tasting Menu.  Not every dish was a home run, but the thought that went into their creation and presentation made every one an entertaining and, ultimately, delightful experience.

To start, we were served five “diva snacks”, small bites to tantalize the tastebuds…

May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Olive oil marshmallows with marshmallow powder.  The olive oil flavor was very subtle, slightly more pronounced in the powder that possessed a touch of sweetness.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Baked potato and chive – served in chip form.  Akemi loved this one. The little sour cream dollops in the center gave it a real Sour Cream & Onions Chip flavor.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
The foie gras walnut.  Nope, it’s not a walnut.  It’s a tiny of foie gras shaped to resemble a walnut.  The shavings adorning the quince puree?  THAT’s walnut.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Beet ice with goat cheese and hazelnuts.  This one was a lot of fun.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Elderberry foam.  Akemi liked this one a lot with its partially-melted cotton candy consistency, but the elderberry triggered my gag reflex.  Sorry, it’s a flower thing and the same reason I avoid any of the rose syrup desserts at Indian restaurants.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
My dining companion on this evening.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
My dining companion’s dining companion on this evening.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Wasn’t crazy about the bread, but liked the butter – sprinkled with a brown butter crumble.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
First course: Green almond, radish, heart of palm, and yogurt vinaigrette.  The most beautiful dish of the night but it happened to be my least favorite.  It was my first time having green almond.  Crunchy, slightly sour, it paralleled a lot of the tartness going on in this dish.  I wasn’t a fan of the earthy hearts of palm, but both Akemi and I enjoyed the cucumber.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Second course: Scallop tartare served with taramasalata, black radish, and cilantro.  This dish was a marvel of flavor and textural contrast – a little sweet, a little sour, a little bitter, a little salty, crunchy, creamy.  It even had a hint of spiciness.  I asked my waitress about it and she attributed to the taramasalata, but taramasalata isn’t traditionally spicy.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Third course: Razor clams with crispy sunchokes, hon shimeji mushrooms, and tarragon.  A clever combination of some similarly subtle and textural ingredients.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Fourth course: Spot prawn with fava bean, chermouta, and basil.  One of the top plates of the evening features lightly grilled local spot prawn (in season) served with a smoky, spicy Middle-Easter twist.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Albacore tuna with salsa romesco, artichokes, quail egg, and eggplant.  The tuna was cooked sous-vide and brushed with a dark sauce our waitress informed us was squid mayo (squid ink mayo?) and was imbued with a strong olive flavor.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Course six: Duo of lamb served with saffron crisp, kidney beans, an dstone-dried lime.  Damn, that lime cream packs a wallop.  Still, it married nicely with the lamb.  One of preparations was a lamb neck (possibly braised?) that proved fall-apart-tender and utterly delicious.
May 25, 2012: An Inspired Dinner At Diva At The Met!
Course seven: Rhubarb foam and pearl served with gin jelly and spruce.  Technically accomplished, Akemi loved it, but I would preferred to hardier (ie. chocolate) dessert.

Serving was great.  The only real thumbs down I would give would be to the ambience of the restaurant.  Like I said, the dining room is very staid and quite dark – this despite the fact that, by the time we got out of there a little after 7:00 p.m., it was still very sunny.

An enjoyable meal.  According to our waitress, Chef Salimian changes up the menu items every week, so we’ll definitely have to plan a return visit for late June.

I’m going to try to get around to doing a mailbag this weekend, so if you’ve got a question, post it!

Today entry is dedicated to blog regular Chev.  Happy Birthday, Maryanne!

32 thoughts on “May 25, 2012: An inspired dinner at Diva at the Met!

  1. mailbag question:

    can you use your super hero/villain powers and make MGM green-light the stargate combo movie?

    (if they don’t cooperate, just torment them with your laser eyes 😛 )

  2. Lovely meal, but I can’t concentrate or see well enough to read it all.

    I had surgery today, fairly simple draining of the seroma left after my hernia repair in Dec.

    cut n paste from FB:

    Home again. Seroma is GONE, but there is a clear tube coming out, attached to a little bulb. (insert icky gory details here) Going to be remarkably inconvenient, but effective. Reason the seroma wouldn’t drain? More icky TMI details which would delight a bloodsucking fiend. Doesn’t hurt much, although I feel hungover. Sent Larry for FOOD, glorious FOOD!
    Oh, and I can’t wear regular clothes easily until I figure this out.

    (footnote: glorious food is KFC crispy chicken trips. Craving salt and fat and fast. And on such a wonderful foodie blog day… I blame the drugs)

  3. If all that food tasted as beautiful as it looked, it must have been great indeed. It makes me feel suddenly bad about the KFC (aka “Dirty Bird”) popcorn chicken I just had.

    Or, it could be just indigestion. *burps*

    I’ll have to ponder on the mailbag question.

  4. First, happy birthday Chev!
    Next, those food photos are wonderful, and the food looks very stylish, too pretty to eat. I honestly would not know where to stick a fork in.
    Was the restaurant aware you would be photographing their food for this blog? I’m glad you and Akemi enjoyed your dinner.

    Hooray for SpaceX and the Dragon spacecraft! Now that’s one for the history books.

    I’m with majorsal, let’s put a strong nudge-nudge on MGM for Stargate.
    The journey needs an ending.

    From the Jersey shore, where humidity meets rain and thunderstorms with occasional breaks of sunshine, all weekend long, sigh… 😕
    2cats

  5. Yum! Sitting here eating boiled potatoes and chicken.. life is not fair. Glad you had a good meal and congrats on hitting the half-way mark!

  6. @Chev: Happy Birthday, Maryanne!

    @Maggiemayday: Woooohoooo! Feel better soon and enjoy your KFC!

    Lovely dinner, Joe. That rhubarb foam looks delicious!

  7. Belated Happy Birthday, Chev! Sounds like you had a nice, relaxing day.

    Mmmmmmm. All of that food was so beautiful, especially the green almonds salad thingie. And it sounded delicious. *sigh* here I sit eating a Kashi Black Bean Mango frozen dinner. My kids both have dinner plans and I need to be at a school awards ceremony for my daughter in about 20 minutes.

    @das: Yeah, I know someone else who is severely myopic and has been told he is at risk for retinal detachment due to the shape of his eyeball. So you near-sighted folks need to get your eyes checked if you get new floaters!

  8. Joe, when you do a mailbag, do you ever answer questions from past blog entries or only the one directly previous to the one where you are answering questions?

    In other words, if I’m really curious about something, should I post once or should I post every day until you get tired of seeing my question and finally break down and answer it?

  9. Speaking of CHRIS JUDGE — He and Rachel Luttrell are here in Houston for Comicpalooza this weekend. I’ll get to meet them tomorrow. I am SO EXCITED.

    @Chevron7 Belated Happy Birthday!

    The food–not my cup of tea–but congratulations on getting so far into the script.

    I gave my notice for work. Bittersweet moment to say goodbye to a company you’ve worked for for 23 years. I just can’t transcribe medical reports anymore. I’m going to start a cat/dog sitting/dog walking business. I’m not saying the name until I file my DBA and secure the domain name. This will work out better with Patrick’s schedule because I can take him along with me. The 31st is my last day. But I have lots to do between now and July, so I’m shooting for a start-up date of when Patrick gets back to school in mid-August.

  10. 151 pages? Congrats Joe and of course Paul, hope after all this effort it works out for you both, would hate to see an entry that says the project is dead in the water, wait I’ll be optimistic and say it won’t and it’l be huge 🙂

    Nice to see you and Paul doing Scifi to be honest Joe, said a few times during/after you worked on the Transporter that you both were better off doing that as you both do it so well, as your Stargate work has proven.

  11. Mailbag questions

    Speaking about writers for your mini series Joe, I was kinda hoping to see the name Brad Wright on something new on TV, any plans to hire him for your writing team Joe? I actually would love to see him writing more Science fiction stuff.

    Secondly, watching any anime lately Joe?

  12. @PBMom: Congrats on dumping what you don’t like and moving to some kind of work that you do. Best of luck in the new business!

    1. SGU won a Leo tonight: “Best make-up in a short series goes to SGU. #leoawards #leo2012”

      Thanks everyone for the well wishes.

  13. What majorsal said 😉
    Lovely dinner, by the way. Thanks for posting the scrumptious pics.

  14. Nice dinner pictures, especially the seventh course, the pink and purple flower dessert. Joe always post a picture of the bread. Bread is beautiful, no matter what it tastes like.

    @ Maggiemayday – you really have had a bad time since your December surgery. Hope this one does the trick and you finally recover and get back to feeling normal and good again.

    Mailbag: 1. Joe can you say anything more regarding what your horror script is about, except that it is a horror script? 2. What did you finally decide two open doors and the alarm going off was?

  15. I’d like to know your thoughts on SyFy canceling Sanctuary? I tend to agree with most people on Facebook with Stargate and Sanctuary gone I will not have any reason to watch SyFy once Eureka wraps this season. (though I’m excited for Warehouse 13 to return… Hopefully they will renew it for another season.)

  16. @Joe:

    Great looking meal! I may have to try Diva at the Met when I’m there in June. It’s looking like my trip will be mid-June, but I don’t yet know how long I’ll be there (it may be just a day or it may be 2 or 3). Also, I was thinking of visiting Fat Dragon which is only a couple of blocks away from the customer I’ll be visiting.

    Sooo….

    I guess my mailbag question would be, if you could only visit one on a trip, which restaurant would you recommend? Diva at the Met, or Fat Dragon? Or someplace else altogether?

    Obviously, I value your foodie prowess!

    @sylvia and Sparrow_hawk:

    See above…I’ll take pictures. 😉

    @PBMom:

    Good luck with the new business…sounds exciting and fun!

  17. Oh…and Happy Birthday Chevron7! Hope you had fun!

    I forgot my son-in-law’s Birthday yesterday. Now I’m scanning his Amazon wish list (so I can quickly get him a present tomorrow), and also trying to get them scheduled for a cookout this weekend to properly celebrate. I hope the last minute scrambling doesn’t tarnish it for him…

  18. Question can you give a hint as to the network the SF mini series might be airing. Also have you any thoughts on new yomato series (space battleship yomato 2199) chapter 1 was just realease on DVD/blu ray today.

  19. Hi Joe:

    A question I would like to ask you is, do you ever use your dreams as fodder for your writing? Edgar Allan Poe was known to take advantage of the trips he’d experience from taking drugs to create his macabre stories. Where do you get your ideas?

    Patricia

  20. I had a hard time figuring out what was what on the plates. What was the lamb, what was the beans, and hmm, there’s blue flower and green thread garnish. It didn’t actually look much like food to me. I eat unusual things, but I like there to be food in it. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself though.

  21. Awwwwwwwww thanks Joe….your dedication made me smile *hugs*

    Thanks Ponytail, 2cats, Deni, Sparrow_hawk, PBMom, JeffW

    I had a lovely birthday…woke up to some lovely birthday messages on Twitter including one from the best Special Features Producer in the world – that would put a smile on anyone’s face….. Thanks Ivon!

    It happened to be the wettest May day ever but I didn’t mind. Between movies, lunch, dinner and a visit with my parents I was hardly at home all day. The Chinese restaurant was a mixed bag. The food was soooooo good but the service was sooooo bad. I actually had to go up to the front desk to let them know we’d been waiting over half an hour for them to take our order and it wasn’t even busy. Still the company was nice.

    My birthday continued on today as the 25th flipped over on calendars in the Northern hemisphere….so no worries y’all had perfect timing. Reading this blog made me smile so much….thanks for that.

    Wow Joe, Akemi and your meals look incredible. I don’t think my trainer would approve. I really do like the look of that green almond vinaigrette.

    Did I tell y’all I’m doing this challenge at gym? It’s pretty much Paleo diet with increased training sessions. I have to write an essay at the start and end of it and take photos & measurements at 1, 6 and 12 weeks. The person who transforms the most wins a trip to the Gold Coast. Did I mention I’m competitive? Oh and I’ve been banned from the scales, although I kinda sorta broke that rule and weighed myself to see if I was on track. Lost a couple of kilos… so not too bad. But more impressive is that I’ve actually gotten up at 6AM to go to the gym. I’m not a morning person so that’s huge. My trainer is very impressed.

    Oh and I’ve been catching up on Survivor: One World. I don’t think I like anyone this season.

    Cheers, Chev

  22. Oh and by the way, Gintama has been canceled at 252 ep, so enjoy it as much as you can, because honestly , best anime ever

  23. @Ilyes

    Pretty sure that technically Gintama is just ending for now. Gintamas manga is still ongoing on Japan.

    They’re were pretty close to the manga, like very close with the anime. The lack of any real information on this issue seems to suggest they’re taking a break from the series. Same with Bleach.

    Technically by the time the DVDs are finished in Region 1 if not before, I would fully expect Gintama to be back on Japanese TV screens.

  24. By the way Joe, have you ever considered importing Macross Frontier from Japan once your Japanese skills improve? I absolutely love this series, the animation is incredible and is one of the, if not the best Science fiction/drama/romance/music anime shows I’ve ever seen.

    I consider Macross Frontier to be my 2nd fav anime series of all time.

    It has aliens, singing(main point of this series with the 2 main characters Ranka and Sheryl), space battles(mechs, and ships), drama with the emotions and stuff, alien planets, and is mostly based onboard a floating ship called the Frontier(See the animes name) lol.

  25. Hi Joe & belated Happy Birthday Chev – ope you had a grand one!

    @Joe any chance of getting Michael Shanks to drop by the blog? Looking forward to seeing Saving Hope on NBC here! Thanks &

    Cheers!

  26. @Lee Well “thanks” for making me aware that Sanctuary got the axe. I am not surprised but still very disappointed. There was such awesome creativity and originality executed in those 4 seasons. I swear I thought Henry Foss’ character could have supported a spin-off even!

    @Joe What Lee said!

    Cheers!

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