Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Devi


tanabutler
 Share

Recommended Posts

I know about the pronunciation, but I've never seen the accent written.

well, if it helps people not say dev-ee with a hard d and a bitten off e...

indians might not get worked up about this stuff the way some egulleters do about mispronunciations of foie gras etc. but things like this do sound very funny to our ears (yes, i speak for all one billion of us). a pronunciation guide to transliterated hindi/sanskrit would have helped the wachkowski brothers avoid some howlers in the last matrix movie as well--ramakandra, my ass!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Went back again last night. We walked in about 8 and the place was almost full. I couldn't really get a fix on the fitness of the crowd, there were thin people and less-than thin.

we ordered regular tasting menu and a vegetarian. The food was excellent as usual. I think my favorite parts about the meal were the simplest -- the manchurian cauliflower and the fried okra. And of course that massive shrimp. I would expect that such a big shrimp would be tough and tasteless, but is was a moist piece of flesh.

After riding the fence a bit, I've decided that I'm not a fan of the lambchop. Last night's was a bit too mushy. It just doesn't have the texture or meaty flavor that I think a chop should give. The chops I saw at other tables, served as a whole entree, looked more substantial.

I also tried the liver and brain buschetta. O.k, but nothing special. The liver had a nice earthy, musty flavor. I don't mind it, but don't love it. The brains were topped with a soft boiled quail egg, so I didn't notice much about the brains.

for dessert we had the pineapple 2 ways and trio of creams. These are two of my favorite desserts anywhere. Easily as good as any dessert I had at French Laundry/Per Se/Danko/Fifth Floor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I finally made it to Devi tonight, accompanied by the wife.

We were seated downstairs, which was ok, but not the best place to sit. The Mrs. asked for a table at the end, but it was saved for a party of three. 45 minutes into our meal a party of 2 sat there.

Still, nothing really wrong with our seats. It was 5:45pm so the place wasn't crowded at all.

We were given our cocktail menus, followed quickly by the food menus. The place was so dimly lit that neither of us could read the drink menus. They turned up the lights a little, and we were eventually able to decipher the 8 point font and had a very nice Khabila and Winter Lemonade.

For apps we had the 3 samosas and I asked if I could have the okra as an app also. I could, but when the check came it was a full price item.

For mains, we had the halibut and the basil chicken. The dishes were good and nicely seasoned, but everything was much too heavily salted, including the okra.

For desert I had the kulfi and Mrs H the mango cheesecake. Those were both delicious. I had a regular coffee, which was decent enough to drink with just a little cream.

Bill with tip was $150.

I had eaten at Diwan a couple of years ago. That meal, plus all the Suvir/Hemant raves had me expecting a sublime culinary experience. I was underwhelmed. :sad:

--mh

--mark

Everybody has Problems, but Chemists have Solutions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. alacarte and I also went to Devi not long ago. Overall, it was a good experience. I only wish mr. alacarte would have indulged me in the vegetarian tasting menu -- it has to be ordered for the full table, a practice I wish restaurants would discontinue.

We had: the trio of samosas, which were wonderful, perfectly spiced, crispy but not greasy, and delighfully fresh naan bread and the cooling raita yogurt sauce.

I liked the entrees, though I found them too spicy for my taste. I had the tandoori prawns, which were very good but a bit too spicy for me, and mr. alacarte had the halibut dish, which arrived coated in a spicy, dark brown sauce that unfortunately made the dish look unappetizing (also too highly spiced for both of us -- all hail raita!!). We were disappointed that vegetables were not included with the entrees -- the meal felt a bit unbalanced.

A word re: the service -- while I waited at the bar, the bartender was remarkably attentive and entertaining, and I was delighted to watch him mix up Devi's potent and colorful brews. But once we got to the table, the service came to a screeching halt. We had to work far too hard to get someone to take our order, bring an additional item, and then bring the check. And it wasn't even a particularly busy night.

Next time: a double order of samosas, served at the bar!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there any significant difference between the food at Devi and what Suvir and Hemant were making at Amma? Any notable additions to the menu, for example?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An update on Devi -

Devi's Executive Pastry Chef, James DiStefano, is no longer at Devi. He has moved on to "356" restaurant in Brooklyn and is also consulting at Ginger and Spice restaurant in Ramsey, NJ, where he joins his longtime friend and David Burke alumnus Doron Wong.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An update on Devi -

Devi's Executive Pastry Chef, James DiStefano, is no longer at Devi...

As I recall, Mr. DiStefano was formerly listed on the Devi website as Consulting (not Executive) Pastry Chef.

No time now for details, but over the course of several meals in the past few months, mostly at times when the restaurant was relatively uncrowded, I could hardly have been more pleased with either the food or the service. Eating at Devi makes me happy.

"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
devi got a nice review in the feb 28 print edition of Crain's NY Business.  nice picture, too.

Here is a link to the review, and a short excerpt for posterity:

Tandoor work is top-notch. A wild boar chop emerges from the clay oven tender and tame, and organic lamb chops are marinated in yogurt and spices, done to a succulent turn and served with sweet-and-sour pear chutney and curry leaf potatoes. Salt and mint run a footrace for savory supremacy. A crispy beef kabab is accompanied by spicy fig chutney and kachumber salad.

If the menu says "spicy," believe it. A big bowl of vigorously seasoned shrimp biryani--which I enjoyed--had me reaching for the Kingfisher (beer) before bite No. 2. It was topped with cold lotus root chips. There are new twists on Indian breads (stuffed with parmesan and onions) and vegetarian dishes (lotus seeds in an onion-based sauce with ricotta cheese and cashews).

Reviewer Bob Lape gave Devi two stars out of a possible four.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Nice review in the New York Daily News: Dévi is the posh spice of India: Dévi's divine setting offers diners robust Indian fare with all the frills. A snippet:

Mung bean chaat boasts a lilting stack of round papadams (lentil crackers) layered with a vivifying salad of sprouted mung beans with tomatoes, mint chutney and tamarind. You'll find yourself longing for this dish's cooling powers when things start to heat up. (Beware of the innocent-looking kulcha bread stuffed with onions and parmesan and, apparently, chilies.)

Hens rarely make me feel hedonistic, but Devi's stuffed chicken is ridiculously tender, and the stuffing, a mince of spicy chicken with goat cheese and spinach, is sublime.

I'm still trying to nail down a trip to NYC this spring: first stop, Déví!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Hooray!!! My husband and I are going to Devi tonight to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

I've been really looking forward to eating there and each time I've been in the city lately, we've been in a rush to go to a show or see people or some other thing so all my husband has been hearing for months is that I want to go Devi....tonight's the night....hooray!

(I ate once at Amma a very long time ago and met Suvir. This was while I was a lurker/visitor on eGullet. Suvir was so gracious. He encouraged me to register and participate in the discussion forums and said that he was sure that I would have something to contribute to the discussions. I was less sure but registered anyway and have gotten up the nerve to post. So I have Suvir to thank for quite a lot. )

jayne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hooray!!! My husband and I are going to Devi tonight to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Very yummy. We both had the vegetarian tasting menu with the wine pairing. At first, I did think it seemed funny to see only a tiny bit of wine poured for each course but I really think that that was enough, especially because each of the courses was a "tasting" size. They also brought out a plate of onion/cheese kulcha but given the amount of food we were eating, it was almost overkill but that didn't stop us from having it...

(Here's something funny: in the middle of our meal, a table of 3 guys was seated next to us and we listened to them agonizing about how many dishes to order and what kinds of things they should have. Was it too much or not? What if this one ordered this and that one ordered that? This went on for quite a while and it was all we could do to keep a straight face when they eventually gave their order to the waiter.)

jayne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Went back last night with the family. Sorry, but I still love it. We got there at 7:30 and the placed was filled for the first seating. By the time we left at 10 it was emptying out. I guess they don't get the late night crowd.

The biggest difference I noticed was that the service has improved remarkably. (And they got rid of the orange prison jumpsuits, going with straight black.)

We ordered four regular tasting menus and two vegetarian. Most of the dishes were the same. At first I thought that portions had gotten smaller. Perhaps they did, but we were all still stuffed by the end of the night. I made the mistake of ordering extra manchurian cauliflower and crispy okra. They're great, but they appear a number of times during the tasting menu, and the extras were not necessary. I probably should have ordered some butter chicken instead.

The new items I notied were a subtle creamy corn curry and a great roasted eggplant and tomato curry.

The desserts were excellent as well. Unfortunatley, they don't have the pineapple cake anymore. But the trio of cremes was terrific (with a some-what blandish rice pudding substituting for the yoghurt dish) and the new breadpudding with a praline-like sauce was very good.

The meal got a little expensive given that I ordered the extras. The tasting menus are now $60 each.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Went to Devi twice recently with my friends, and both times the food was excellent beyond expectation. Highlights of two meals included a heavenly parsi halibut and a savory Goan shrimp. I got to have my usual favorite of Manchurian cauliflower and tartly sweet Bhel Puri. Then there is the all time favorite Flooda, a dessert that I dream about. And, a new discovery of cream trio that tasted elegantly against the Indian flavors. Surbhi's desserts definitely gets better each time. I'll certainly make this one of my regular places to eat.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since yesterday was my birthday and eGullet's birthday as well, I decided to suspend (for one day) my one-year period of going only to restaurants with female chefs. Since I wasn't paying, I thought this would be okay.

One post here said run, don't walk, to Devi. I totally disagree. In my opinion it should be sprint, don't run, to Devi. This was the best Indian food I have ever tasted by far. My wife and I had the Tasting Menu and added the veal brain/liver bruschetta as an extra. One dish was better than the next.

The standouts were the bruschetta, the lamb and the flash fried salmon. This was a "meal for the ages." Suvir was there and we had a warm conversation, I wished him well and expressed my view that he should begin posting again. He said his schedule prohibited him from doing much posting but I got the impression it was more than that. The board loses so much when such talented people stop participating.

Thank you Suvir, for always being a total gentleman and thank you for your talent and in sharing it with us through such an outstanding restaurant such as Devi.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My daughter loves Indian food so we found ourselves at Devi and had an outstanding lunch. The restaurant has a $20.12 three course tasting menu with 5 appetizers, 6 entrées and 2 desesrts to choose from.

We started off with a Manchurian cauliflower and tandoori chicken stuffed with lamb, goat cheese, spinach, that was served with tomato chutney. The portions were generous and the spice level was enjoyable without being overwhelming.

Entrees were the juiciest basil chicken breast I have had in a long time served with coconut chutney and tomato rice and what must be the best tandoor grilled lamb chops in NYC. They were served with pear chutney and curry leaf potatoes.

My favorite of the two desserts was an addictive crispy saffron bread pudding topped with cardamom cream and candid almonds. My daughter had pistachio kulfi comprised of Indian ice cream, candied pistachio, citrus sorbet and fresh citrus. We were stuffed. All of the dishes were beautifully plated. It was a delicious experience and a bargain. Do try this restaurant.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm so glad you stopped in rosie!

i had an excellent meal at Devi recently. tasting menu paired with wines. suvir, as always, was a gracious and brilliant host. hemant was not in the house, but the kitchen was obviously performing at a very acceptable level. never a bad meal at devi. interesting mix of indian and non-indian customers. interesting because i think that's a good thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
I assume the whole table has to order the tasting menu?  Is the tasting menu a lot of food?  I am going next week, and would like to order that menu.  But my GF isn't a big eater, and probably wouldn't be interested.

Yes, both need to order it. I wouldn't say it's a tremendous amount of food, but you won't leave hungry. You could always finish what your companion doesn't.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Last night I took my girlfriend to Devi for her Birthday. We both got the Chef’s tasting menus; she took the regular, I got the vegetarian for the sake of variety (we shared everything).

This was truly a fabulous feast. I can’t remember if I had ever eaten so much food at a meal. We both waddled out after the meal and deliberately walked twelve blocks to keep our circulation going but we both had food comas later in the evening (and we didn’t even do the wine pairing!). It was the third time I had been to Devi, but my first Chef’s tasting menu. Even my watch felt constrictive after this meal.

The service was excellent. Half way through the meal I felt lost, as if in the desert. I asked for the menu again as well as compass, as I had lost track of where we were in the seven course meal.

We started with the Chef’s Amuse of spiced chickpea on papadam; very pleasant.

Shortly after I was served the Bombay Bhel Puri (rice puffs, tamarind, mint, tomatoes, onions) which was more spicy that her Sprouted Mung Chaat (Sprouted Mung Beans, tomatoes, onions, tamarind, and mint chutney on two tiers of small papadam). Depite this, the Mung Chaat was more memorable, particularly as it was visually more interesting.

My Aloo chaat (crispy potatoes, tamarind and mint chutney, lemon juice, cilantro, and chaat masala) was very good, but we both agreed that her Grilled Scallop with Red pepper chutney and Manchurian cauliflower was the highlight of the meal. I have never tasted a better scallop in my life.

For the third course she had to choose between two dishes. Her Idly Upma (she chose this over the Lamb stuffed Tandoori Chicken) was outstanding dish (very crispy with mint coconut and tomato chutney), while I really enjoyed the spinach and goat cheese Samosa as well as the more orthodox Potato and Pea Samosa.

For course four, I chose the Manchurain Cauliflower with its garlic infused tomato sauce and scallions (I chose this over the Idly Upma, which was also offered as a third course, for the sake of variety).

She chose the Amritsari fish and chips for her next course instead over the Parsi Halibut despite the fact that I advised her otherwise. We were both pleasantly surprised by a delicious salmon filet and phenomenal chips (“Devi’s curry leaf potato fries: thinly sliced potato, fried with spicy peppers and fried curry leaves).

My fifth course was a compulsory Matar Kee Poori aur Bhaji (pea bread and spiced potato curry) that was as pleasing to the eye as the palate while she enjoyed a delicious Jumbo Tandoori Prawn (pomegranate marinade, kararee bhindi). This was her favorite of the evening, as much for the fried okra as the prawn.

I chose the Abha Aunty’s Baingan (baby eggplant, sweet and sour tomato-tamarind sauce, parwal kee sabzee, and yogurt rice) over the Kathal Biryaani for my sixth course. The eggplant had an excellent flavor and was masterfully combined with the less spicy yogurt rice and the crisp parwal kee sabzee. Her deliciously spicy Tandoori-Grilled Lamb Chop (with sweet and sour pear chutney, and curry leaf potatoes) was wonderfully moist; which, from my experience, is unusual for Tandoori.

For dessert, I chose the Pistachio Kulfi, a fantastic combination of creamy kulfi, crunchy candied pistachio, and citrus sorbet and sauce. She chose the Shahi Tukra or crispy saffron bread pudding (cardomom cream and candied Almonds). Both desserts had excellent contrast of texture (creamy vs. cruch). The dominant flavor of the Kulfi was citrus sobet and sauce while the Shahi Tukra was extremely sweet. This sweetness did not appeal to my girlfriend, so I took over.

At the end of the dessert, when we thought we would receive the check, we got two additional complimentary desserts. The first was a leaning tower of custard which tasted of mango with a tuile atop. My girlfriend was delighted by this (Falooda ?) as it was not nearly as sweet as the Shahi Turka. The second was a additional Shahi Turka with a birthday candle. The pastry chef Surbhi Sahani is a master of contrast of flavor and texture. Despite the fact that we just ate six courses, the dessert plates were virtually licked clean. When the waiter asked if there was anything else we would need, I jokingly asked for two more Chef’s tasting menus. Without missing a beat, he replied “Vegetarian or Regular.”

In retrospect, it was a meal of a lifetime. We both noticed the frequency of tomato in the meal in both the vegetarian and regular chef’s tasting menu dishes. Chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mahur have shifted Devi into fifth gear.

The meal cost $151 (including tax and tip) for two Chef's Tasting Menus and two glasses of Alsatian wine. $130 of the meal was covered by a gift certificate I received last December for my Birthday.

Edited by mascarpone (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also took my girlfriend to Devi last week for her birthday and we both did the tasting menu. We really enjoyed ourslves and thought it was an awesome experience (our first tasting menus). The only down side of the night was the service. The runner would bring the food and just say lamb, chicken, halibut, etc.. and expect us to tell him which of us got which. That was kind of annoying - I kinda felt like I was at a TGI Friday's. Plus there was no further explanation of what we were eating. After the second or third time this happened I explained to our waiter that we are both new to Indian food and would appreciate an explanation of what was on our plates. He was very helpful, but each time a course came out - I had to get his attention again to come to our table. Not a big deal, but it sticks in my mind. We loved loved loved the food. The only two dishes that didn't wow me were the Halibut and the fish and chips. The size of both of these were much smaller than the other courses (maybe 2 bites)and just didn't seem like anything special. But everything else was very tasty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Please add me to the list of people who are entranced with Devi.

This is cooking at a very high level. It's better than Dawat was in its heyday. It is, to me, the best Indian food I've ever had in New York -- and some of the best food I've had recently, period. The succession of flavors in single dishes -- that feeling in which Indian food specializes of a succession of flavors as each bite passes over your tongue -- is well managed, the flavors deep and subtle yet vibrant. The quality of the technical execution is very high, and so is the quality of the ingredients. Not here the feeling you sometimes get at places like Mina's that the food could be really celestial if only they could afford better raw materials.

The amuse was built around deep-fried brocolli flowers, I believe. Forgive me, but I was still focussing my attention on my delicious cocktail, a ginger collins (made with bourbon). (While waiting for my dining companion, I had a soursop martini at the bar; it worked beautifully with gin replacing the featured vodka.)

For appetizers, we split plates of Bombay Bhel Puri and Manchurian Cauliflower. The Bhel Puri has been highly praised here, and it deserves that praise. But let me focus on the Manchurian Cauliflower, one of the very best dishes I've had recently. What a well-conceived dish. The spicy catsup cuts any greasiness -- cuts the sheer "deep friedness" -- of the deep-fried cauliflower. But deep-frying the cauliflower provides a crispiness that prevents the catsup from turning the dish into a bunch of glop. It all comes together perfectly. As even our waiter acknowledged, it's somewhat odd that one of the great dishes now available in New York should be cauliflower covered with catsup. But so it is. I want more. Now.

Our entrees provided an interesting contrast. My companion had the tandoori lamb chops; I had the tandoori venison chops. I thought the lamb chops were not wholly successful. Like someone further up in this thread, I like my lamb chops to be toothsome (the "mutton" chop at Keene's is a perfect example). The tandoor makes them too tender, to the point of almost being mushy. It's just not the way I want my lamb chops to be. There's also a lamb shank on the current menu, however, which would only be better the tenderer and more cooked it gets.

The venison chop, on the other hand, was fabulous. Probably one of the three or four best venison dishes I've ever had. Venison only benefits from the tenderizing effects of the tandoori oven. And whatever spices they put on it made it interesting without masking the slightly gamey taste of the meat.

Desserts were excellent. I had a mango cheesecake; my companion had the bread pudding. There's nothing bad to say about either.

I thought the service was also excellent. Extremely helpful with the menu, honest in their suggestions -- our waiter even alerted us when he thought we were ordering too much food -- personable but not cloying, and there when you needed them.

I'm still on the fence about drinking wine with Indian food. I think food this rich and spicy is better with beer, or even cocktails. Since we were having lamb and venison, I ordered a red. I made it a light red (an Oregon pinot noir -- very good, by the way) because, although heavier wines might better stand up to the spiciness of the food, I find they exacerbate the richness. I still feel it didn't quite work. Maybe the thing to do is forget Red Grant in From Russia With Love and order a heavy or flavor-forward white, even with meats that would cry out for reds in most European cuisines. Or maybe the thing to do is to stop trying to pair wine with food it doesn't suit. I don't know.

What I do know is that I love Devi. I'm dying to try more things on the menu. But what I really want is more of that cauliflower. (I only wish my mother could have lived to see me say that.)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Airs and Stars New York City Entry #70

It took several courses before I "got" Devi, the mbitious Indian restaurant, set smack in the Union Square restaurant district. I had considered Devi and Tabla as rough equals in New York's culinary space. Indeed, both have tasting menus and according to Zagat's their price points are not vastly different (outside Z's world, the difference is significantly wider, with Devi the less expensive). Restaurants may gain or suffer by these implicit comparisons, hard to shake.

Devi does have airs - any restaurant that provides alternate tasting menus, and that advertises their chefs - Pastry Chef Surbhi Sahni, and Chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur - asks us to take them seriously. Yet, Devi's professed intent to create authentic regional Indian home cooking places their goal betwixt haute cuisine and street food.

Devi is not Tabla in looks or culinary style. Its decor, service, and cuisine is more humble than Danny Meyer's pleasure palace on Madison Square. This is not to suggest that Devi's food doesn't alternately satisfy and amaze, but it represents a modest cuisine, not a grand one. Its ambitions are somewhere between Curry Row and Savile Row. The decor is an upgrade of the Indian-restaurant-in-a-box; gauzy, gaudy, gossamer, and rosy, not a candidate for Architectural Digest. And with a six course tasting menu, we were out the door in under a hundred minutes. On this snowy evening, staff weren't turning tables (the restaurant was largely empty), but their efficiency was nervy.

In contrast to Tabla with its imagined place in an international culinary universe, Devi is about is creative and impressive as an ethnic restaurant can be in New York (and quite possibly anywhere, given the quality of ingredients available on this magic island).

Selecting from the two tasting menus, our combined menu consisted of:

Fried Cashew Ball (our amuse)

Calcutta Jhaal Muri: Rice Puffs, Red Onions, Chickpeas, Green Chilies, Mustard Oil, and Lemon Juice

Salmon Crab Cakes: Tomato Chutney Mayonnaise

Sweet Potato Chaat: Sweet Potatoes, Toasted Cumin, Chaat Masala, Lime Juice

Aloo Bonda: Potatoes, Mustard Seeds, Curry Leaves, Ginger, Hot Pepper, Tumeric, Urad Dal, Chickpea Flour

Tandoori Quail: Spicy Fig Chutney

Grilled Scallops: Roasted Red Pepper Chutney, Manchurian Cauliflower, Spicy Bitter-Orange Marmalade

Mirchi Wali Machhi: Halibut, Roasted Pepper Chutney, Spiced Radish Rice

Manchurian Cauliflower: Spicy Garlic Infused Tomato Sauce, Scallions

Mirch Ka Salan Aur Puri: Preen Bell and Hot Peppers, Coconut, Peanuts, and Tamarind Curry with Puri Bread

Tandoori Prawns: Eggplant Pickle, Crispy Okra

Tandoor-Grilled Lamb Chops: Sweet and Sour Pear Chutney, Spiced Potatoes

Jackfruit Biryaani: Basmati Rice, Potatoes and Whole Spices, Yogurt Sauce, Okra Chips

Emperor's Morsel: Crispy Saffron Bread Pudding, Cardamon Cream, Candied Almonds

Pistachio Kulfi: Indian Ice Cream, Candied Pistachio, Citrus Soup

This is quite a spread, and at $60 for six courses, by no means unreasonable. Chef Saran and Mathur push the envelope of Indian cuisine, but never puncture it. Despite their creativity, they reject a fusion cuisine, but remain fully planted in the varied regional cuisines of India (the restaurant does not inform diners of the regional components of the cuisine, leaving the impression that the culinary choices are undifferentiated). With several tandoori dishes, a heavy use of peppers, and multiple chutneys, dishes tend to blur.

The most memorable creation, given this array, is among the most modest. Chefs Saran and Mathur's crispy okra might better be labeled okra frites. The crispy fried strips of okra were magnificent. Okra is one of American's uniquely despised vegetables - abhorred for its repulsive slimy sludge - but if okra were served so cleverly it would challenge potato chips for America's heart. I also admired the tandoori prawns that shared a plate with the okra. This dish was the star of the evening.

The pair of crab cakes were suffused with pleasure. They were cooked simply in a surprisingly subtle tomato chutney mayonnaise. They were sublime. The tandoor-grilled lamb chop with a vibrant sweet and sour pear chutney was exceptional as well, even if the spiced potato seemed standard issue. The flavors of the Grilled Scallops were complex, particularly with the bitter-orange marmalade. Of the two desserts, the Crispy Saffron Bread Pudding was superior with the addition of crunchy candied almonds on a canvas of saffron.

Other dishes proved less successful. Those on the Vegetarian Tasting Menu did not match the skill shown with meat and fish. The cashew amuse was a spicy bite of not-much. Manchurian Cauliflower, slathered in ketchup was sickly sweet, and no match for a superb, ketchup-free version I enjoyed at Chinese Mirch. The Biryaani lacked much of a punch (also true of spiced radish rice). For some reason, Devi was not successful with rice dishes, seemingly a standard of Indian cuisine. While I happily sipped the citrus soup served with the Pistachio Kulfi, I found the ice cream less compelling than that available from dozens of unassuming stands in Jackson Heights.

Devi rides high in comparison with Indian restaurants throughout the five boroughs. I was fully satisfied with what might well have been the best "ethnic cuisine" of my New York stay. This is no backhanded compliment, although these ambitious chefs might, perhaps, take it as one. I grieve over the absence of a glittering Michelin star for Tabla; the stars that Devi deserves are those twinklers on a clear winter night, admired while walking home from Union Square tickled and astounded by what Indian cuisine in the right hands can reveal.

Devi

8 East 18th Street

Manhattan (Union Square)

212-691-1300

My Webpage: Vealcheeks

Edited by gaf (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...