By David Porat
Suvir Saran owned a restaurant in New York called Devi on West 18th Street, not too far from where the Union Square Cafe used to be. I have fond memories of many meals there that were somewhat traditional Indian food but done in a very inspired way within a very ornate “ethnic” setting. I was sad to hear that that restaurant closed in 2012. I am happy to report that Suvir (pronounced like severe but as the chef says, not too severe) is back in the West Village with a new concept of Indian food that touches on other cuisines.
Tapestry opened around the second week in May, and we enjoyed a meal there within their first week in business. To be upfront here, we did meet Suvir and his young, charming business partner, Roni Mazumdar, during our meal there and George and I were quite taken by both of them. They come from very different places but both were born in India and both have big ideas about food, hospitality, and wanting to change, touch, and taste the world with their food. The restaurant is bright, attractive and casual with a smallish menu of unique Indian style foods and other foods with a touch of Indian spice. New York City does not have many contemporary Indian restaurants and I think it is due more, based on the variety of Indian food and the fact that the world will have India as its most populated country in not too long. I have recently eaten at Indian Accent, a new uptown restaurant in the Parker Meridien hotel and have been impressed and very much want to return, which in this town of new restaurants means something.
Our meal included a first set of dishes that was a far cry from what you would expect: rabbit paté and fritto misto, both non-Indian dishes which had slight touches of spice that did not turn them into fusion food but made them inspired. George said that the fritto misto was the best he had ever had. A generous portion, fried perhaps in a somewhat Indian style, was finished with fried curry leaves and some roasted black garlic. The rabbit paté was studded with pistachio nuts and had a gentle and rich flavor that could compete with any charcuterie. In addition, we tasted a special that was called “breakfast at dinner” and was duck fat fried potatoes, bacon, and a goose egg, I believe, spiced gently with some less common spices. This dish was all about comfort and taking you to a very homey place. Many of the ingredients in this dish come from Suvir’s own working farm on the New York-Vermont border.
Our next course was fried chicken and a pasta dish dressed with cauliflower, a bit more Indian and a little Sicilian in style. We finished with beautifully presented desserts including petit fours, homemade pate de fruit, candied orange peel and coconut macarons presented, as often is the case, in contemporary ceramics made in Japan that have a global and carefully crafted feeling about them, a feeling that also describes the restaurant. The prices in the restaurant are moderate but not inexpensive with entree type dishes ranging from $20 to the low $30s.
There were a few weaknesses including pasta that could have been cooked a bit more, but the restaurant and concept are so fresh and new and the warmth of the two working owners make me want to come back very soon.
60 Greenwich Avenue (at Perry Street)