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Devi?

I grew up watching my father mix masalas for our dinner and still remember the charred smell of his roti puffing on the stove. Since leaving home, getting good South Asian food at a price not much higher than my father's (i.e. free) has been somewhat difficult unless I make it myself. There was a certain inviting mystique around places like Devi, but I couldn't afford them...

Until now. If I were responsible, I probably wouldn't be going; but who knows when Devi might close again? Since it is such a huge chunk of change for me, I need to know before I go: is it going to be worth the hundred dollars for me to keep my reservation at Devi? I've got a serious appetite so I've shied away from tasting menus in the past, but I've heard such good things about Devi's that I wanted to try it while the prices are low. Is the food going to be Desi-good or will it be bland and Americanized? After spending a day's wages will I come out feeling pampered or paupered?

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  1. While I have not yet had a chance to visit the re-opened Devi, there is no doubt in my mind that the cuisine will be as superb as it ever was. After all, the delicious recipes are still Suvir's while the very talented Hemant is still running the kitchen and manning the tandoor. Seems to me $40 for the tasting (reduced from $60) is an unreal bargain. Plus, until the middle of November, they are offering a 20% discount!! The way I see it, you'd be nuts to pass up this opportunity.

    4 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Tasting menu will come back next week. I made my reservation for mid-November (need to save up!). Menupages said that the tasting is $80. With 20% off I think that equals $64 (not $60), which is more than I spend for groceries in a week!

      1. re: JungMann

        JungMann,

        I've had the tasting menu at Devi, and it was $60. Wine pairiings were an additional $40. You need to look again at Menupages because it clearly shows $60. In any event, that's the old menu. I've read that Suvir and Hemant have substantially reduced prices in order to make their cuisine more accessible to people like you who have are more limited financially.

        1. re: RGR

          How embarassing...and relieving! I can definitely afford $40 (though I thought I'd also get a deal on wine pairings!). But to be more specific, I have heard others complain that the food was bland and Americanized. I don't mind fusion, but as a Desi, would I do well to ask them to spice my food like a Desi? And others have complained about still being hungry after the tastingg. Should that be a concern? I'm still going to go, I just need to figure out if my friends will be cross with me after shelling out money for a meal that barely feeds them.

          1. re: JungMann

            I doubt they would alter spicing as in "masala" for you, but who knows... AS for the quantity of food, it depends on one's appetite.

    2. I'm with RGR on this one. I didn't even know about the reduced prices. That makes it beyond a bargain, so thanks for the head's up...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Tay

        RGR: Are you sure about the tasting menu? My understanding was that the 5-course tasting menu that used to be offered is not being offered right now. All that is available is a 3-course prix fixe for 45 (not 40).

        AIso, I hadn't heard about the 20% discount. Did you find about this upon visiting the restaurant?

        1. re: toum

          toum,

          I read about the 20% discount in the "NY Times" Wed. food section. On another food forum someone posted that the tasting menu would now be $40. But maybe that person was confusing it with the prix-fixe you mention. There was no such prix-fixe previously at dinner. Only a la carte and the two tasting menus. At lunch, the prix-fixe was $24.07.

          1. re: RGR

            Thanks. In any case, this is all good news. Sounds great.

            1. re: RGR

              Does anyone know of any current hour restrictions on the tasting menu? I went before they closed this summer, we had a 9pm reservation, and when we were seated we were told that we were too late for the tasting menu. We were bummed, but we tried to sample a good selection of the food and loved it all. If the tasting menu is currently 40 dollars, I'd love try again, but I don't want to show up at the wrong time!

              1. re: Snaps

                Devi's website is now up again. It's $45 for the 3-course prix-fixe and $65 for Chef's Tasting Menu. They are discounting 20% until the middle of November.

                If you want to do the tasting and are concerned about timing your reservation, you're best off calling the restaurant and checking with them.

        2. So has anyone been to the reopened Devi???

          3 Replies
          1. re: clembeauchamp

            I went to Devi on a sunday night with four of my friends. The discount is still in place. I would say overall the food was ok and the service poor. I found the flavors very extreme and unbalanced. The food was fresh tasting though. The servers are terrible, particularly the runners. They forgot to fill the water glass for one of my friends, couldn't remember who ordered what dishes, placed forks on right/knives on left, and didn't understand english very well so instead of getting the waiter, simply said things like steak knives and sugar were not available. At the end, they brought two desserts and it took another 7 minutes to bring the other one. I may give them another chance as perhaps they haven't worked the kinks out yet.

            1. re: wysiwyg

              My experience at Devi matched yours: so-so food and really incompetent service. After each course I found the captain's face about 6 inches from mine asking "How are you enjoying the flavors?" What I wanted to say was "Spiced with all the delicacy of a crowbar," but instead opted for a wan "fine." I suspect this new Devi is not long for this world. Some have mentioned the difficulty of running a restaurant profitably without selling a lot of booze, but it's seemed typical of the overall amateurishness of the place that they seemed to have put no thought into the wine list at all.

              1. re: jasmurph

                I'm a huge fan of Devi. As I noted in my post below, we were just there again, and I thought the food was better than ever -- subtly spiced and totally delicious.

                If there were kinks that needed to be worked out after the re-opening, it would appear they have been addressed because our service was excellent. Although Suvir was out of town, the foh staff was on their toes. Plus, Hemant was in and out of the kitchen, making sure that everything was running smoothly.

                As for selling alcohol, I don't drink, but a few in our party had pre-dinner drinks, JungMann in his post indicated that there are interesting and delicious mixed drinks available, and my husband was told that the wine list is in the process of being re-built though he was quite pleased with the pairings he had with the tasting menu.

                On the mid-week evening we were there, every table was filled, and I've heard from reliable sources that on weekends, the place has been jammed. While some may have been there because of the discount, I'd venture to say others, like our party, were there because we admire the cuisine.

                Overall, I think slapping a "Deathwatch" on Devi as you have done is entirely without merit.

          2. The giant prawns were so good!!!!!!!!!!!! It is a MUST if you go.

            1. I hope you haven't gone yet. I went to Devi last week, and was very disappointed. I had the giant prawns and they were very salty. I've never had the fried okra before, but I don't think they were properly prepared. They looked like dried shavings that were cold and shriveled up. Many of the dishes or elements of dishes on the menu are redundant. (Appetizers that are similar to entrees, sauces and chutneys that are the same from dish to another, etc.) Also, the menus themselves were printed on office card stock and had typos. On the positive side, the noise level was low, and you could have a decent conversation. Also, the halibut was nicely cooked and flavored. All in all, a real disappointment.