The New Diva on the Block

Photos from left, clockwise: At Diva: Cinnamon-smoked duck breast came with aromatic sweet onion puree, and creamy Valrhona mousse. Chocolate palette with raspberry ravioli. Bayne sound scallop, blackberry hazelnut bread pudding, lingcod with spot prawn and fennel.


This week I finally checked out the new menu—and chef—at Diva at the Met. I’ve always admired Chef Quang Dang from his long sojourn at C Restaurant, but wondered how the rigorous simplicity of that ethic would transfer to a larger, more complex hotel kitchen operation. I needn’t have worried. In addition to being one of, if not the youngest, hotel executive chef in the city, Chef Dang is also one of its most inspired.

I started with several items from the new Rosé menu that is running now until the end of September. Each dish is created to match a famous Rosé. A freshly shucked Bayne Sound scallop—matched with Segura Viudas Brut Rosé—was decorated with clam meat, lightly doused in olive oil and seaweed, and decorated with olive oil jelly cubes and an olive oil powder that dissolved on the tongue. Rosé-marinated cucumbers were ever-so-lightly pickled for a perfect contrast to the raw scallop. Blackberry and hazelnut bread salad with fresh chevre from Farmhouse Cheeses was matched perfectly with Miguel Torres de Casta 2009 Rosado, and pan roasted ling cod over a ragout of chorizo, spot prawn and fennel came with the always-popular JoieFarm 2009 Rosé. The ling cod resembled a deconstructed bouillabaisse, especially with the creamy reduction served in its own glass and topped with crunchy breadsticks.

I also tried a few items off the regular dinner menu. Chef Dang refers to his food as Cascadian cuisine, and it certainly references the region and its menu cultural influences. Lightly seared albacore tuna slices were served over a cucumber rolled around pickled shitakes and radishes. The whole was then topped with Chef’s own smoked tuna bonito, grated tableside, which had the loveliest pungency. Cinnamon-smoked duck breast came with aromatic sweet onion puree, and creamy Valrhona mousse was sided with silky raspberry ravioli that oozed fresh puree at the prick of my fork.

I also discovered a new local Viognier from Ruby Tuesday on the Naramata Bench, the new child from the former owners of Red Rooster, Beat and Prudence Mahrer. Bright, crisp, with a soft mouth feel, it made a perfect match for the tuna. You can only find this at restaurants or direct from the winery at present. Road trip, anyone?

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