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The funny thing is I find sitting across from each other the most unromantic and uncomfortable arrangement. I hate 2 tops. Even with someone I know better and feel more comfortable with than anyone on the planet I feel pressure to keep the convo interesting and reaching for topics that don't come naturally. It's not normal I know.

 

I view the kitchen counter as a performance we're not often privy to. Plus why would I want to jeopardize her appetite by forcing her to look at me the whole time?

 

 

very good point

 

but then I always avoided sitting at a two-top with you for some reason :)

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  • 1 year later...
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This place is excellent. Surprised it's not on the radar more, especially among former Devi-lovers. Don't want to look back at Oakapple's review before I review it myself. But has anyone been here in the mean time?

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This place is excellent. Surprised it's not on the radar more, especially among former Devi-lovers. Don't want to look back at Oakapple's review before I review it myself. But has anyone been here in the mean time?

 

I checked and his review was in December 2011. We've been there a number of times before that and once since, in August 2012. We were just thinking that we're past due for a return visit. I agree with you that the food is excellent. I can't think of any dish that has disappointed us.

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I had nibbles there a few months ago with girlfriends, including Monica Bhide who knows about that food. Thought I'd posted about it, but I guess not. We sat in the lounge, in that thing that looks like it could have been a palanquin. Can't remember now what we had. As I recall, flavors were muted, nothing in-your-face, but the four of us enjoyed everything (and not only because we were comped). Nice presentation. Anyway, I could see going back, if I were in the neighborhood and wanted high-class Indian food.

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  • 2 weeks later...

looks good but the dishes you describe seem less traditional than what we ate (and others have described) at devi. this seems far more like indian dishes and flavours reconceived to look like what you would expect to get in any upscale new york restaurant.

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I may have skimped detail on Devi: I saw quite a change between the early-middle menus (which you're right about) and late Devi, where there was plenty of riffing on American comfort foods.

 

That scallop dish was very much plated for an upscale restaurant. The duck curry was served as any Indian restaurant might serve it. I thought the menu showed evidence of an exploration of regional cooking, but you'd know better than me.

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i think it probably does show that to some extent, but if they all look like or are constructed like the dishes you ate they don't seem to be turning out regional dishes per se, more dishes reminiscent of/utilizing less familiar regional flavours*. what you say of the scallops seems to me to be true of everything pictured: the duck is sliced in the european/american style and served with very little sauce/gravy; the potato croquette perched on raita (never eaten in that combination; tamarind sauce, yes) for no reason probably other than a) it looks good in the upscale french/american style and is dslr friendly and b) is not the mint sauce which would be correct but is associated here with crap curry houses, though even then it would never be sitting on the sauce and getting soggy.

 

*nothing wrong with that, of course.

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I may have skimped detail on Devi: I saw quite a change between the early-middle menus (which you're right about) and late Devi, where there was plenty of riffing on American comfort foods.

 

That scallop dish was very much plated for an upscale restaurant. The duck curry was served as any Indian restaurant might serve it. I thought the menu showed evidence of an exploration of regional cooking, but you'd know better than me.

 

Just to add that Devi went thru a period of riffing on American comfort foods because Suvir was writing and then publishing his new "American Masala" cookbook at the time. I loved some of the things he or Hemant brought out for us to taste (like the fried chicken) but did miss the more traditional stuff they started with.

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  • 3 months later...

I had dinner here tonight. I liked it, but probably not as much as Wilfrid. In fact, I think I liked Tulsi a little better (even though Hemant may not be in the kitchen anymore).

 

This place has to have one of the city's darkest dining rooms. But that didn't stop me from taking photos. Unless you order all vegetarian, the menu skews decidedly more expensive than Tulsi. Markups on alcohol are also higher. The room looks a little nicer, but it's so damn dark in there that it doesn't really matter.

 

The amuse was a shot of watermelon juice with lychee and basil seeds. It was fine.

 

For my appetizer I ordered "Paneer Pakoras":

9340098010_d9ba6c008d_z.jpg

These are fried slices of house-made paneer with a cilantro-mint-yogurt chutney. They were decent. Kind of rich. This would be good for splitting. Neither appetizer I had at Tulsi or Junoon blew me away, but maybe I ordered wrong.

 

Along with my main I ordered the Junoon-spiced naan. These are naan with garlic, a house-made spice blend, and stuffed with mozzarella and gruyere. They didn't really taste cheesy at all, or spicy, or even garlic-y. The main flavor I got was from the toasted sesame seeds. I'd pass on this next time.

 

Duck with Tellicherry peppercorns:

9337312675_2dab0396cf_z.jpg

Same main as Wilfrid. This is smoked duck breast in a Tellicherry peppercorn sauce. It was excellent. On the initial taste you get mostly the heat from the peppercorns, and then you notice the subtle smoky flavor of the duck. The heat was very well balanced. The sauce was complex enough to keep it interesting, making you want to go back for more. My only critique of this dish is the price - $29 seems a little steep for what you get in the above photo. Bread, rice, or whatever you want on the side will run you at least another $5-$6.

 

I also ordered the kulfi trio:

9340099352_c289a866a7.jpg

From left to right: Cardamom, Mango, and Paan. The kulfi at Tulsi is better. These were grainy and icy. And aside from the cardamom, I didn't find the individual flavors to be very pronounced. To me, the paan tasted mostly of sweet milk, with just a vague hint of something tobacco-like in the background. The mango was a little better, but still not particularly great.

 

Overall I found Junoon to be just decent, and kind of expensive. I prefer Tulsi.

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