If you want your restaurant to be featured on The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” it probably doesn’t hurt to have the work “Diner” in your name. If you want host Guy Fieri to go “all nuts” about your food, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a meatloaf so inspiring that Guy declared, “Diners across the world have to take a lesson on this one.” And that’s just the meatloaf . . .
Metro Diner is the newest restaurant to open in the Westfield Siesta Key Mall, formally Westfield/Southgate Mall. You’d think there had been a major celebrity sighting at the joint! When we arrived for lunch the first day Metro Diner opened, the place was packed. There had been a line out the door for breakfast, with people showing up a half hour before they opened. Obviously, the food is what creates “the buzz” around the Metro Diner.
Joining Megan, from Edible Sarasota Magazine, Maggie from The Herald Tribune, and Cooper from Sarasota Magazine, we were invited to sample 2 breakfast favorites and 2 lunch/dinner favorites, as well as a dessert. Knowing their portion sizes are quite large (as in . . . doggie bag, please!) Metro Diner’s management staff was kind enough to provided half orders of some of their most popular crowd pleasers.
From the breakfast favorites, we were each served a half order of Metro’s Fried Chicken and Waffles. Unbelievable! A standard order is typically a half chicken, as in one leg, one wing, a breast and a thigh. (Enough for a family of four!) Metro’s chicken is award winning, and not to be missed. Brined over 48 hours, Metro’s kitchen works a culinary feat to bring out that tender, juicy texture their fried chicken is known for. With one metro award after another for “Best Local Fried Chicken” their fried chicken is about as succulent as it gets.
The breading is crunchy beyond words and the chicken itself is moist and juicy with every bite. The Belgian waffles have that crispy texture you love on the crust followed by a soft, warm interior that just soaks up the sweet homemade strawberry butter. The real kicker comes with Metro’s sweet and spicy sauce, made right at your table. It’s simply maple syrup with 7 drops of Louisiana hot sauce. No more, no less. This is a science folks, so don’t doubt it, and absolutely brilliant with the chicken, the waffles, French fries and pretty much everything else we dipped into it.
On a different breakfast note, comes the Yo Halla on the Square, essentially two thick slices of challah bread stuffed with a gooey mixture of banana, brown sugar, cream cheese, and hazelnut syrup. This is then dipped in an egg batter and prepared like French toast, with every edge of it toasted to seal in the cheesy stuffing. This large stack of sweetness is then topped with a blueberry/strawberry compote and a dusting of powdered sugar, because it needed a little more sweetness (NOT!)
When I took a few bites of this, I knew I was in trouble. As much as I wanted to dive in and devour the entire dish, there would be no way I’d be able to eat anything else. Yo Halla on the Square is pure lusciousness, plain and simple. It’s like combining the flavors of a crêpe, French toast and banana cream-filled donuts all into one out-of-this-world insanely sweet breakfast. Wow! I loved it!
From their Burger selection came Mart’s favorite dish of the day . . . The Holy Davoli Burger, named after Metro Diner founder Mark Davoli. Imagine this – two grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with American cheese, tomato and hickory smoked bacon serving as the top and bottom buns of an Angus beef burger topped with lettuce slaw. Again — that’s three sandwiches in one! And it came with a side of fries! No wonder people line up for this food! You could eat for a week!
Next up came a half order of Metro Diner’s Charleston Shrimp and Grits, the perfect example of taking comfort food to a whole ‘nother level. This is just classic Americana, with a creative flair. The grits are actually 2 grit cakes, that are stuffed with cheese, roasted red peppers, and Andouille sausage, then baked before being fried to a crispy crunch. These lovelies are then topped with shrimp, more Andouille sausage, fried onions and peppers before being smothered (in a kind way) with a shrimp sauce reminiscent of sausage gravy. Then, to really throw your taste buds into overdrive, they drop some chopped bacon and green onion on top. Our first photo is of the half order we received.
Then they brought out a full order for us to see. This was beyond big! But, hey, some good news! If you’re up for the whole order, go for it, but you also can choose a half order of pretty much anything on the Metro Dinner menu. Just ask!
Before we could wave the white flag of surrender, here came the Salted Caramel Cheesecake. Seriously? Is that not a beautiful dessert, or what!?! Believe it or not, it tastes even better than it looks, if that’s even possible. Just one bite of creamy salted caramel goodness after another.
Metro Diner offers beer and wine, along with non-alcoholic beverages. What really tickled me was learning that their Bloody Mary was made with a wine based liquor. If you didn’t know there was wine, instead of vodka, you wouldn’t know there was wine instead of vodka.
Rightly assuming we’d like to know which 3 entrees Guy Fieri featured on Driver’s Drive Ins and Dives, the chefs sent out a plate of their famous meatloaf . . . the one so lauded by Fieri. It was, as expected, really tasty. The mashed red skin potatoes were also a hit, as was the seasonal veggies, that had a nice smoky flavor to them.
Not to be missed was the Pittsburg Steak Salad. Fieri had a great time with this entrée, especially seeing that it featured an NY Strip and French fries on top. We’ve included the link to the Diners, Drive Ins and Dives segment featuring Metro Diner, but I can’t leave this blog post without mentioning my favorite Guy Fieri quote: “Calling this a typical salad is like calling my diesel 4-wheel drive, lifted, 4 door crew cab yellow monster truck a commuter bus.”
I think he nailed it!
And finally, I can’t close out this blog without the photo below. It’s a take out bag from Metro Diner. Get used to seeing it. They could probably save some time by handing them out as you enter. Just sayin’
Welcome to Sarasota, Metro Diner. We look forward to your next opening on Lockwood Ridge and University as well as your new location in Venice. Thanks for sharing! We’ll be back.