Noted as being the first Indian restaurant in New York to earn a Michelin Star, Devi doesn’t disappoint. Located on 18th Street close to Union Square, the restaurant’s interior is that of a traditional Indian eatery however wide spaces, decadent leather booth seating down the left hand side, silver service table settings and a loft area above give Devi a touch of class often unseen in Indian eateries.
Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, the menu provides diners with a wide selection of traditional and regional Indian favourites. The menu is not as exhaustive as some Indian restaurants can be however this works as a bonus. The dishes here have clearly been selected with much thought by the chef, ensuring only the strongest and tastiest dishes are listed. Vegetarians will delight here, with seven vegetarian dishes appearing as main courses, as well as a host of sides and starters.
The vegetable-focussed appetizer menu is a great place to start your Indian feast. Portions are considerable and are enough to whet the appetite. The crispy fish pakora tacos are presented delicately with the flavours robust yet balanced, the avocado calming the taste of the carob seeds. Manchurian cauliflower provides an interesting mix of both Chinese and Indian styles. The florets exhibit a firm crunch from a light frying. The sauce however, while tasty, is rather sweet and is more reminiscent of sweet chilli sauce than any Indian flavour.
Traditional chicken tikka masala is authentic in taste, with the tomato cream sauce not too heavy on the pallet. From the vegetarian menu, the Baigan Bhartha, or roasted smashed eggplant, is tasty yet a tad bland, needing more salt or a kick of Indian spice. The standout dish at Devi though is the absolute Indian staple of dal, or more particularly, the Panchratni Dal – 5 kinds of lentils with spinach. The texture is right, the spices are balanced and together, the flavours offer a taste of India at its finest.
Although quiet at lunch time, the surroundings of this well-fit out New York establishment make a calm setting either for a long and luxurious lunch or a quick meal between meetings. The wait staff are welcoming and knowledgeable and the food arrives quickly. An added bonus is the wine list, which features several varieties of biodynamic, organic and sustainable wine. There is also a focus on women in wine, with the list offering wines from women who are hands-on in the industry.
Devi deserves its Michelin Star. A definite must for lovers of fine Indian cuisine while in New York.
Recommended: Panchratni Dal
Best for: Lunch
Organic: No – although some wines are
8 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square)