Lunch yesterday at Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur's new restaurant, Devi. Pretty space: 20 foot ceilings draped in flowing tumeric and tamarind silks with clusters of stained-glass bejeweled lamps. An antique Indian door and reliefs complement Devi's welcoming vibe. Two separate draped alcoves make for almost private dining spaces; there's also an upstairs.
The food distinguishes itself with old, deft flavors and as statements as much as plates. These deals however are difficult to imagine they can sustain. The $20 lunch includes an app and a main. A little bowl of lotus chips came out first which, while in some sense your basic fried starch were nonetheless thin, delicious and pretty.
Stuffed chicken appetizer: hyperbolically good. Chicken rolls filled with chevre, spinach and chicken; tomato chutney on the side. Jousting chili powders and aromatics with depth and good texture, far more character in these bites (and not small ones!) than anything we remember at Tabla, but that has been a couple years.
2 big Tandoor grilled Jamison lamb chops with mustard seed-curry leaf potatoes; pear chutney; and maybe our favorite bites of the day: paper thin, dry and crispy fried okra sliced lengthwise in a salad with onions and tomatoes. In vain we searched for this in Suvir's cookbook: paper-thin, paper-dry okra?!!?! One can only hope it's on the veggie menu, where we suspect Devi's real delights lie.
Wines by the glass looked kind of dismal on the other hand. We didn't glance at the full list, but do remember the remarkably potable Indian wines they served by the glass at Amma that so surprised us. Perhaps they'll do that again.
Chef Hemant came out to say hello and then affably sent a dessert tray on the house: Chai Pannacotta with cardamom on a masala shortbread; Shrikhand, a yogurt with marscapone, creme fraiche and citrus; and a green banana flan. The subtle Shrikhand was our favorite, but after the too much food we were perfectly powerless to stop eating, the tiniest bites of these three creams sufficed. Yum.