Devi brings a touch of elegant spice and spaciousness to this sometimes gritty block of East 18th Street, located dead south of ABC Carpet & Home. Step into a warm and open space peppered with temple artifacts and draped in lanterns and gauze. A full bar sits to the right, banquettes to the left, and a balcony level dining room at the top of the stairs. The operative colors are red, yellow orange and purple, sometimes deep and rich and sometimes muted - colors that reflect the bold subcontinental flavors that weave in and out of the menu. Like the divine mother goddess for whom the restaurant is named, Devi seeks to bring us one step closer to the Universal Energy.
The combined talents of chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur and Baluchi's owner Rakesh Aggarwal do provide us with some powerful offerings, of which the tandoori lamb with pear chutney deserves special mention. If you are willing to explore the possibilities, try the tasting menu ($95, with wine pairing). Otherwise, the Manchurian cauliflower is a must try, as are the lamb dishes. Vegetarian tasting menu with wine pairings is also available. The wine list features a full range of reds and whites that compliment the demanding menu.
The space is beautiful, and it is lovely to gaze up at the balcony, but when the heat is on, it can be too warm for comfortable dining. Best to sit downstairs.
This is a great place for couples, families and close friends. While it is romantic, the flavors may be too bold to spring on a first date who knows little about subcontinental cuisine.
Although the ambience in casual, there is something about this place that makes one want to dress up, and to wear something besides black.
Telephone: (212) 691-1300
Address: 8 East 18th Street
Cross Streets Broadway
Hours And Additional Info
Price: Expensive. About $31 to $50 per person.
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