October 25, 2004 | Ask Gael

I see your favorite Indian guru’s on the move again.

        Privately, I worried that Suvir Saran, peppering his way around town so nimbly as a consultant to Indian kitchens, might have exhausted his tricks. How naïve of me. Clearly, Saran (a pal whose name opened doors for me all over India) and his highly skilled partner, veteran Hemant Mathur, saved their most refined and adventurous cooking for romantic, swathed-in-silk Devi. Don’t strain your brain. Do the $55 tasting (with or without wine choices by Joshua Wesson), and revel in perfect-size portions of scallop and Manchurian cauliflower with surprisingly spicy bitter-orange marmalade, followed by tandoor-grilled prawns alongside eggplant pickle and that crisp okra salad I never get enough of. Cinnamon is the surprise accent in bits of liver, sautéed with onion and tomato on bruschetta. Brains, laced with green chilies and topped with quail egg, will thrill the adventurous. And small rice-lentil cakes (idlis) with curry and coconut and tomato chutneys should not be for vegetarians alone. Pineapple three ways with pineapple-cilantro granita is just one flight from dessert cliché by Mathur’s wife, Surbhi Sahni. She also elevates Falooda noodles from street-food sweet to a must for tapioca freaks.

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