Sunday, March 11, 2007

Edison goes to Diva, discovers Light

First, there was an article in the Georgia Straight about Diva, a restaurant at the downtown Metropolitan Hotel, hence Diva at the Met. The review was mostly about Diva's scientific cooking. Using new tech to do things to food that had not been possible to do before. Our local North Shore News followed with its review of Diva (far from a new restaurant), mostly about the tech as well, and the delicious things machines like the circulator which allows food to be cooked Sous Vide, vacuum-packed. Both reviews really made me want to go to this restaurant, although the reviews were all about the dinner menus. Fumiyo and her friend planned to eat downtown anyway, so I suggested we try Diva. The things on the online lunch menu were different from what we actually found at the restaurant and its paper menu, so I wasn't as prepared as I thought I'd be.
The dish pictured above was one such. Shrimp and orange slices went together miraculously. The small, odd Amazon on top was best left in Brazil and the croquette, though creamy and tasty went the other direction from the succulent shrimp/citrus marriage.

Fumiyo and Kuniko both wanted soup and salad, so Diva split the orders and brought them both each the above crisp caesar salad: hearts of romaine, garlic basil crostini, parmesan cheese as well as the non-on line menu item, what Fumiyo recalls as a kind of pea soup with cilantro and a pakora, an Indian odditiy. I had a spoonfull of the soup and found it delicious.

This scallop dish isn't the one on the online menu either. It came in a thick risotto that was wonderful but too heavy, even for dinner for me. I just feasted on the scallops and took the risotto home. While I was enjoying this, Fumiyo gave me a bit of her "Grilled wild sockeye, duck fried rice, cashew carrot, lobster nage."
Or maybe it's something else again. The bite I had of it was the best bite of salmon I've ever had at a restaurant. The sliver of shitake I had was the best shitake (and I had tons of them in Japan), no, make that the BEST MUSHROOM I'VE EVER EATEN. And it's not even listed as an ingredient. I would imagine both fish and fungus were sous vided in some miraculous way.

I had a glass of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) with my citrus shrimp- a perfect combination I ordered on my own, then asked the server to reccommend a wine (the restaurant is famous for its wine list) to have with the scallops. It was also a fine pairing, but as usual Not Cold Enough.

"Molecular gastronomy" they call this high tech cooking and I can't wait to try the dinner menu. Imagine if Edison were as much into food as he was into machinery. Maybe he would have invented this kind of cooking gear a century ago. Well, at least it has happened in my lifetime.


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