We're quite sorry to confirm that Devi has, in fact, closed for good. Yesterday brought news of an extremely disturbing collection of death indicators, but we'd held out a small bit of hope because, frankly, we liked the restaurant a great deal. Chef Suvir Saran is the genuine article, humble and extremely talented, and the restaurant was a pleasure as a result (the space was always a tad awkward, but no matter). We spoke to Saran via email today and he had this to say:
Hemant Mathur and I have been worried for the welfare of our staff and the working relationship between the owner and the team. The operational differences between the restaurant’s owner and our staff, have sadly led to the closing of Devi. At some point, rave reviews and loyal following of our customers, had to all be put into larger perspective. We need to be true to ourselves and protect our own integrity and vision. And do what we think is best for our team and our own dignity and self respect.So there it is. Saran tells us that he and Mathur, his co-Exec Chef, are fully intent on opening a new restaurant—and one at which they'll have more complete ownership. No timetable yet on that venue.
· The Shutter Chronicles: Is Devi Doneski? [~E~]
UPDATE: An astute commenter below alerts us to this lawsuit, which pits Devi staffers against the restaurant's owner, Rakesh Aggarwal: "...11 Bangladeshi, Latino and Eastern European immigrant workers at Devi, an upscale Indian restaurant in Manhattan, joined four other plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the restaurant and its owner Rakesh Aggarwal to end labor law violations, including illegal tip confiscation and minimum wage and overtime violations." At least, we've got to believe this helped make Saran and Mathur's decision to leave easier; at most, perhaps this is at the core of their split with Aggarwal.