Visiting from SF
Hello all! I'll be in NY next week, from the 15th to the 19th. For the most part, I'll poke around this board for places to check out. I do want to get one nice meal in, though, and am hoping for some recommendations. This will likely be for the night of the 17th (a Tuesday). I hope 9-10 days in advance is plenty for a reservation!
My gf's vegetarian, but I am not, so looking for something that'll make us both happy. Perhaps someplace with a good tasting menu? I know in SF, a few of the higher-end places will offer vegetarian tasting menus, don't know how standard that is. If not some sort of tasting menu, I'm open to other options, I'm pretty open on cuisine, ideally would like to get something here that I can't experience in SF! Not looking to really break the bank, let's shoot for under $100 per person, hopefully a bit less? (More reasonably priced here means more to spend elsewhere on my trip!)
Thanks for the help!
Devi's cuisine is superb, head and shoulders above standard Indian fare. The tasting dinners cost $60 each. One diner can do the regular tasting menu while the other does the vegetarian. We did just that a few months ago, and the meal was outstanding. You can also do wine pairings for an additional $40. Of course, if you prefer, you order a la carte. The large space on two levels has unusual, elegant decor.
Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!
Cafe Boulud is 4-star chef Daniel Boulud's second tier restaurant. But the cuisine is in no way second rate. In fact, it's fabulous. They offer 4 different menus + a menu of daily specials, and one of the menus is dedicated to vegetarian dishes. There is an excellent wine list. Service is cordial and polished. The space is not very large and has attractive contemporary decor. The menus are all a la carte so, depending on exactly what you order and what you drink, you may be able to stay within your budget. Oh, and the seriously delicious warm madeleines provided at the end of the meal (instead of the usual mignardises) are alone worth the visit.
Hope you enjoy your trip out here!
Devi is good, but it is just (expensive) Indian food, nothing special or unique about it. I also went to Cafe Boulud recently and was terribly disappointed, I thought the atmosphere was stuffy and the (vegetarian) food was nothing I couldn't make for myself.
For something a little more challenging that you "can't experience in SF" and I would try Pure Food and Wine. It is all vegan and raw, but all vegetarians and non-veggies I've taken there loved it.
Another place I would recommend is Via Della Pace, it is a cozy Italian restaurant in the East Village with savory meat and vegetarian dishes. They always have a great seasonal Risotto dish and my friends swear by whatever the seafood special of the day is. The service is attentive and relaxed; it is a great place to sit and really enjoy your meal and your vacation without blowing your budget.
It's apparent that your opinions of certain restaurants are quite divergent from mine because I have to disagree with your view of Pure Food & Wine. With the exception of the excellent "lasagna," I didn't find the food there very appealing. That makes me sad because we've always loved the back garden. We sat there many times when that location was occupied by Verbena, and the Pure Food people have actually made it even more lovely.
I would second Pure Food and Wine, if you are willing to go vegetarian as well, though I have no idea if this is something you can experience in SF. It's a really interesting menu and a really beautiful space. I am not a vegetarian, but I loved it there. I had a whole lot of fun ordering off the menu, I thought the food was exceptional, and the whole experience was impressive. I have also recommended it to out-of-towners that were either vegetarians or Kosher looking for a special experience it's always made a hit.
Thanks for the recommendations! I definitely should have planned a little more in advance!
I recently ate at a place called Cafe Gratitude in SF that was raw/vegan, and I can't say I was a fan. (If interested, here's a link to the menu: http://www.withthecurrent.com/menu.html)
I made reservations at Devi for tomorrow night (Sunday). Glancing at the menu, it does just seem like expensive fairly standard Indian food, but I'll report back after the meal, unless I find time tomorrow morning/afternoon to dig up an alternative and snag some reservations! Looks like Gramercy Tavern is already booked . . .
Ha, we’re totally 'Even Steve'... the lasagna is my least favorite. But I love the Cauliflower Samosas and White Corn Tamales.
I've actually been to Cafe Gratitude (the Mission District one)... and while I think it is too late for change you mind about PFW, NY raw food is much more delicious and artful.
I ended up keeping the reservation at Devi. I got the non-vegetarian tasting menu, while my gf got the vegetarian tasting menu. Overall, while there were a few items that were very good, I think the meal was fairly inconsistent, and I don't think the cost was quite justified. Note that the menus offered differed slightly from the menus on the website.
Some of the things I really liked -
Lamb chop - delicious, as good of a lamb chop as I've had.
Manchurian cauliflower - this was served as a side (1 cauliflower piece) on one my plates and as a course (4 pieces) on the vegetarian menu. Normally, I haven't been huge on desi-chinese food, but this was very tasty.
Okra - both menus had this dish as a side on one of the courses. Basically thinly shredded okra and onions, lightly fried.
Spinach kulcha - bread served on the side with a yogurt sauce
Dessert - both dessert options were great. Pistachio Kulfi and "Shahi Tukra" - a sort of creamy bread pudding.
What didn't work -
For the most part, at least for my meal, the sides didn't seem to complement the main item very well. For example, the scallops were served with a "spicy bitter-orange marmalade." This just did not work at all, with the marmalade/chutney just obliterating the delicate-sweet taste of the scallops. This sort of mis-match occured often. Also, a couple of the courses just didn't do much for me. Don't see it on the online menu, but had a bhel-type course to start that was just a waste of time and space.
Overall, I'd say the food was good, but avoid the premium for the tasting menu, and order (carefully!) from the standard menu.
Among other meals there (Italian, pizza, deli, chinatown ice cream, etc.) I also ended up having a couple other Indian meals while there, thought I'd mention. We tried the Hampton Chutney Company, a fusiony dosa place. Nothing mind-blowing, but, if I lived in NY and had one nearby, I'd go again, tasty, filling, and not "too" ridiculously priced. I also had a dinner at Vatan, all you can eat Gujarati food. A lot of dishes just like I would have had at home growing up. Some service issues, but the food was good, and I left insanely stuffed. I would recommend it both for Gujus looking for some home-style food (though, priced a bit high for that), or for people looking to branch out and try food from a different region of India.
Thanks for reporting back. I'm sorry that you were not completely thrilled with Devi's tasting menu though the dishes you really liked are definitely some of the best on the menu. As you said, the tandoor grilled lamb chops are insanely delicious. Not surprising since Chef Hemant Mathur is a master of the tandoor.