Dévi

Lunch at Dévi earlier this afternoon.

Chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur, formerly of Amma and Diwan, present a thoroughly eclectic and modern version of traditional Indian cuisine.

Click here for the review by Frank Bruni, main restaurant critic for the New York Times.

Shots of the menu:

I had the regular six-course tasting menu. In the interest of full disclosure, Chef Mathur also comped me a few dishes. I’ve indicated these with asterisks.

Miniature pappadums and spicy tomato chutney
2005 Annie’s Lane Clare Valley Riesling

Calcutta Jhaal Muri — rice puffs, red onion, chickpeas, green chilies, mustard oil and lemon juice

Left to right: spicy bitter-orange marmalade, grilled scallop, roasted red pepper chutney, Manchurian cauliflower

Veal liver bruschetta — veal liver, cinnamon, tomatoes, onions

Veal brains bruschetta — veal brains, quail egg, green chilies

Another shot of the bruschetta.

Naan (plain and spinach stuffed), with saag paneer (spiced spinach and homemade cheese) and mustard raita*

Parsi halibut “paatra ni machi”, tomato rice*

Lotus seed curry*

Tandoori prawn, eggplant pickle, crispy okra

Left to right: Tandoor-grilled lamb chop, spiced potatoes, sweet and sour pear chutney

Pistachio kulfi, candied pistachio, citrus soup

Shahi tukra — crispy saffron bread pudding, cardamom cream, candied almonds*

Dessert sampler*

Left to right: mango panna cotta, cardamom and clove flan, rosewater lassi

If only the servers could have stopped asking me “was everything all right”. I think I lost count after the fourth or fifth time. It was difficult to keep a smile plastered on my face even as I wanted to throttle my waiter into submission. I restrained myself somehow.

Out of 10? Based on the strength of the food alone, a borderline 7 to a moderate-low 7. Manchurian cauliflower has its fan club but I am not a member; too much ketchup that overwhelmed my palate. Tandoori specialties are Chef Mathur’s strong points. Crispy okra will transform even the most diehard okra-hater into an adherent. Spicing is applied with a wonderfully deft hand and the ingredients’ flavors come through, like an orchestral symphony in your mouth.  This is a couple of steps above and beyond your average Indian restaurant.

Dévi is located at 8 East 18th Street (Fifth Avenue), in the Flatiron district of Manhattan.

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