San Francisco does not have many upscale Indian restaurants, although we have a plethora of Indian dives offering the ubiquitous $6.95 buffet lunch.
Devi’s Haute Indian Cuisine (first time I’ve eaten a “patented” tandoori lamb chop and I gotta admit-it was tasty!) is showcased perfectly in the romantic saffron room, with gauzy red-curtains and colorful sparkly lanterns. The helpful waitstaff in their matching saffron outfits, offered impeccable service and smoothly expedited our meal when we explained we had theater to make. ( One helpful trend, that was repeated all week in NYC, was that when you ordered a glass of wine, the waiters-before I could make my usual plea-would pour a sample for you to try first.)
Devi serves Bhel Puri, my favorite street snack (which in India is piled onto a piece of newspaper), as a beautifully layered concoction of puffed rice, tamarind, mint, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions, which went perfectly with my gin & tonic mojito-type drink. We proceeded to run the whole gamut of appetizers, followed by the lamb with pear chutney, and delicately spiced saag paneer. Highlights were the goat cheese and spinach samosa’s, sweet potato chaat, and the cheesy onion kulcha-bread. I was not a fan of the Manchurian cauliflower with it’s heavy sweet & sour sauce although the others enjoyed it.
Although most people tend to bypass Indian desserts, the rich Pistachio Kulfi (a rich Indian ice-cream made from condensed milk) was divine with it’s garnishes of candied pistachio and citrus soup.
Devi also offers a $60.00 tasting menu, for both the omnivore and vegetarian. $100 with wine pairings.
8 E. 18th St., New York, NY 10003
between Broadway and Fifth Ave. 212-691-1300