Restaurant Week: Dinner at Devi
Friday, July 31, 2009 at 10:02PM
The Lady Who Lunches in Restaurant reviews

*All of my photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr

Ah, NYC Restaurant Week. For those of you that aren’t familiar, here’s the 4-11 (taken from “NYC Restaurant Week®, New York City’s original celebration of dining, dates back to 1992…Since 1992, the success of NYC Restaurant Week has only grown. It has expanded to include both lunch and dinner offerings—three-course, prix-fixe meals for $24.07 and $35, respectively—and extended to two weeks each in the summer and winter.” Sounds like one hell of a bargain, doesn’t it?

Ceci, a fellow Texan and recent NYC transplant, and I made a date for a Restaurant Week dinner at Devi, a much-hyped-about Indian restaurant in the Flatiron neighborhood. Having arrived slightly early for our reservation, I was able to study both the regular and RW (Restaurant Week) menus. While sipping a cocktail at the restaurant’s petite bar (awaiting Cecis arrival), I began making small talk with some of the employees. “This is interesting,” I mumbled, “your regular menu offers virtually the same deal as the RW menu does: $35 prix fixe for two courses plus dessert. So, I dont get it. Why would anyone participate in RW here? One of the hostesses gushed, “Right? The prix-fixe deal on our regular dinner menu is much better, at least in my opinion. You literally get to choose any two items plus dessert, and you’re not restricted to the limited RW-specific menu."

And without further ado, I present to you: Restaurant Week, Dinner at Devi.

What’s the space like?

Spacious, bi-level room; think casual Indian elegance: Bold colored paper-lantern “chandeliers,” cherry-red walls sporadically draped with oatmeal-hued tuille, ornate wooden door and banister moldings, and an overall feeling of warmth and tranquility.

How was the service?

Friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.

Did you drink?

Indeed! I had a “Mumbai Margarita,” which was topped with a dash of cayenne pepper and St. Germain Elderflower Liquor, before moving on to a refreshing vodka-limeade concoction.

How was the food?

Obviously Ceci and I came to Devi for Restaurant Week, but ultimately opted for the $35 3-course prix-fixe from the regular dinner menu:

What’s pricing like?

The 3-course $35 prix fixe dinner special is a great deal, especially when you can choose from otherwise expensive plates off of the restaurants regular menu. However, Devis entrees do not come with rice or naan, which is like serving Tex-Mex without rice and refried beans. Heres a snapshot of what my meal would have looked like had I dined a-la-carte:

Will you return to Devi?

Probably, at some point, though I’m not rushing to return any time soon. After participating in five years’ worth of Restaurant Weeks and paying for numerous tasting menus, I’ve come to the conclusion that prix-fixe-dining isnt for me. “But why not,” you ask, “isn’t $35 for 3-courses a great deal, especially in NYC?” Nope. And do you want to know why? Plain and simple:

1) Because I drink. That’s right; with a couple of cocktails/wine (at approximately $12-14 per glass) added to the tab, I can’t walk out of a restaurant for under $75. And that’s pre-tip, pre-tax and pre-après dinner aperitif!

2) I don’t need that much food. A cocktail and either two appetizers or one entrée is plenty for me.

3) I’m on a budget! I can’t spend $75 every time I choose to eat away from home.

Devi is a lovely restaurant with beautiful atmospherics and fantastic service. However, I prefer eating my Indian food in a more casual setting where rice and naan accompany every entrée…And where spending more than $30/person is unheard of.



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