Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dine Out Vancouver and Hot Chocolate Festival 2015 - Diva at the Met

Diva at the Met on Urbanspoon
Last time I was here was in the final days of Hamid Salimian's tenure and they put out a super-inventive limited-time Middle Eastern set menu. I was mostly looking for vegetarian and gluten-free $18 Dine Out Vancouver options so Diva at the Met wasn't even on my radar, but there was interest in it from our dining group so I ended up going. No regrets -- happily surprised even!

Hot chocolate was also really decent -- and yes, you can order their Hot Chocolate Festival offerings at 9:30 PM to go with dessert during a late seating dinner.

Dine Out Vancouver 2015
$38
Wine Pairing is flat $15 for pairing with all three courses.

Appetizer

Roasted Parsnip Vanilla Bean Soup
Apple Compote | Raisin Croutons | Crispy Pork Belly

or


Caramelized Beets & Goat Cheese Salad
Candied Hazelnuts | Pomegranate and Guava Dressing

or


Angus Beef Carpaccio
Hand Cut AAA Beef Tenderloin | Braised Cipollini | Capers | Shaved Grana Padano Cheese | Baby Arugula and Truffle Vinaigrette

Entree

Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut
Tomato| Lemon | Caper | Relish and Ricotta Gnocci | Basil Oil

or


Grilled Cornish Game Hen
Spiced rubbed | Red Rice | Pearl Barley | Larissa Honey Glazed Heirloom Carrots | Blood Orange Reduction

or


Wild Mushrooms and Ricotta Cannelloni
Mushroom Consommé

Dessert

Tiramisu
Star Anise Anglaise

or


Stilton Cheesecake
Rhubarb Compote | Port Sauce

Hot Chocolate Festival 2015

#21 - "SIZZLING SPICE"

Your taste buds and olfactory senses come alive when you drink this spice and herbal blend of chili pepper, star anise, cardamon, orange zest, cloves, cinnammon, hibiscus and rose hips - all brewed slowly to form an herbal tea, then mixed with Barry Callebaut cocoa and Valrhona chocolate. It is then topped with crushed rose hips to bring out some texture, resulting in a mildly spicy, herbal hot chocolate infusion. 
Served with a Raspberry Tea Cake.

Available: January 17 - February 14.

#22 - "ADULTS ONLY"

A rich, but not too sweet mixture of Barry Callebaut cocoa and Valrhona chocolate is mixed, heated, and placed in its serving vessel. Atop the vessel, is placed a flat chocolate lid, complete with a chocolate Bailey's ball. After about 30 seconds, the lid melts and the entire lid falls into the hot chocolate. Guests stir the mixture together to enjoy an 'Adults Only' hot chocolate.
Served with a Matcha Green Tea Cake.

Available: January 17 - February 14

Once again I went with a late seating for Dine Out Vancouver. They were pretty packed at 7:45 PM when I arrived for our 8:00 PM reservation, but things just quieted down nicely after that as the first seating left and there's basically no one after the second seating. Kitchen started wrapping up around 10 PM.
Trust me, time and time again a later dinner has proven to be much nicer for Dine Out Vancouver's more popular venues.

Angus Beef Carpaccio
  • Separate out the capers or the sour taste will wipe everything else out.
  • What looks like just arugula sprinkled on top is magically transformed by the vinaigrette into a tasty mini-salad. But of course you're not ordering this for salad so my vote is still on the soup being the best choice.
Roasted Parsnip Vanilla Bean Soup
  • I just got a taste of this as I was ordering what no one else ordered (the carpaccio). Totally missed out. You want this appetizer!
  • Really thick "soup" that looks and feels like apple sauce.
  • The slight sweetness from vanilla really adds an interesting, playful, tasty element to the parsnip soup.
Caramelized Beets & Goat Cheese Salad
I passed on trying it because you can't get a proper sample of salad without all its ingredients, but it looked pretty decent. If soup isn't for you, the safer choice is this salad, unless you need meat in every dish.

Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut
  • Fish isn't my first choice, especially denser-meat fish which tends to be on the drier side. Nevertheless, this halibut was quite tender, flaked easily, and very moist. Very nicely done if you like fish.
Wild Mushrooms and Ricotta Cannelloni
  • The cannelloni had dried-pasta-dirty-yellow colour but it was actually fine. Don't be freaked out.
  • This was rich and tasty. Vegetarians aren't left behind in this menu.
  • Three spring-roll sized cannelloni, easy to share if you are of mind to.
  • The sauce is on the watery side (mushroom consommé), so you might want to stash a piece of bread from the complimentary bread basket to soak some of it up.
Tiramisu
  • Inventive tiramisu dusted in chocolate and sitting on a thin film of chocolate.
  • Super tender, very tasty.
  • The lighter choice to end your meal. Smallish size -- about half the usual cube of tiramisu.
Stilton Cheesecake
  • Looks like they used the white Stilton cheese, which doesn't have the mould veins.
  • Crumbly cheese with rich flavour and slight sharpness to it, so it's not quite as heavy feeling as a "regular" rich cheesecake. Flavour was sort of like goat cheese.
  • Size is small - less than half the size of a regular slice of cheesecake (of course, what a "regular" slice is depends on where you go and I swear they are shrinking slightly all the time).
  • Crème brûlée style burnt-golden sugar top.
"Sizzling Spice" Hot Chocolate ($8)
  • The "Adults Only" hot chocolate uses Bailey's, a liquor, but they offered to do it with whipped cream instead. Nevertheless I gave that a pass and went with the more complex Sizzling Spice.
  • The "herbal tea" comes in its own little vial which is poured into the hot chocolate after they bring it to your table and your server explains what is what.
  • This is a slightly bitter drinking chocolate -- feels like slightly watered down melted chocolate instead of a "typical" hot chocolate drink.
  • Despite the complex blend of ingredients, what I mainly tasted was chocolate with a touch of star anise. I'm normally turned off by too strong a star anise flavour but this was tempered by the chocolate and acceptable.
  • As for the other ingredients -- didn't register with my feeble senses, unfortunately. You might have a better experience if you have a more discerning palate. In the worst case, you get a strong shot of drinking chocolate.
  • The tea cake is a bite-sized round slightly smaller than a macaron but really flavourful.
Overall dinner was delicious and service excellent.



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