Devi--give it a try
Went to Devi with the veggie wife the other evening. Little background on this is last year we went to Dawat and swore we would never go for a fancy Indian meal again after that disgusting, overpriced abomination. Apparently we forgot and wound up at Devi.
Nice atmosphere, very warm and accommodating staff. No pretension. We got the veggie tasting menu, $60 bucks a head ($100 if you want wine, but we did not). Wife had a mango based cocktail that was really well done (I had a few Kingfishers). Since you get the choice of two different dishes at certain points on the tasting menu we had all of the dishes offered. None of the foods is so vastly different than "typical" Indian food, instead it a more refined preparation with an emphasis on subtle, solid spicing.
Ill skip the whole play by play, suffice ot say that the only less than stellar dish was the Idly Upma, here served crispy outside and chewy inside but lacking any real depth of flavor. The Calcutta Jhaal Muri exploded with flavors, the sweet potato was offset by just the right amount of lime to tickle, the Manchurian Cauliflower was even loved by my cauliflower hating wife, it came in a rich, sticky-sweet tomato sauce with small bits of blackened and carmelized crust clinging all over. Spinach stuffed naan was solid. The Mirch Ka Salan aur Puri was a great pepper curry--we sopped all of the sauce up with the fresh puris served with. The last dinner courses were actually a bit of a comedown, but the desserts, especially the saffron bread pudding were a great close.
I'm a huge fan of Devi, so I'm glad you liked it. The last time we were there, my husband and I each had the regular tasting menu while my daughter and her boyfriend each had the vegetarian. Since I take it you are not a vegetarian, I'm curious as to why you did not opt for the regular tasting menu for yourself.
Cause i am never adverse to veggie stuff, just not going to be exclusive to it. plus, my wife often cannot go to nicer places because of a complete lack of dishes for her (she does not eat seafood and is allergic to mushrooms) and I wanted her to be able to taste everything they had to offer.
Yes, the prices are higher than at most Indian restaurants, but Devi is a huge cut above your average Indian spot. There are, as you said, major positives: sophisticated cuisine, an excellent wine list, professional service, and unique, elegant decor. This kind of high end dining experience justifies upscale prices. That said...
For those who want to try Devi at a more affordable cost, I highly recommend going there for lunch. They serve a 3-course prix-fixe for $24.07, and all the selections on the menu are taken directly from the regular dinner menu. Lunch is served Mon.-Sat.