Ranked 17th best restaurant in Asia, and #1 in India, I decided on a whim to go to Dum Pukht. Like all high-end restaurants in Delhi it seems, they don’t open till 7. With no reservation on a Saturday night, I luckily found a table. When you entering Dum Pukht, located in one of the nicest hotels in Delhi, the ITC Maurya, you get the feeling you will remember this experience. The room has an old world feel with its many chandeliers and Mughal architecture and the tables perfectly set with silver plates and tastefully blue chaletsgiving Dum Pukht near picturesque ambience. To match this is the service, where from the time you sit down to when you get up to leave, you feels like the whole staff at the restaurant is ready to serve your every need and knows your name before you leave (they do ask when you sit down). Dining alone, I had the opportunity to ask more questions than usual and the knowledgeable staff was more than happy to explain. Before I get to the food, I must comment that the drink list, like many places in India, was disappointing and they were out of 2 of the 10 beers they listed. Now I must get to the food. First you start with what may be the best masala (over raw red onions) and sweet green papaya chutney that I have ever had. I wish they sold these in jars to take home. I went with the tasting menu and I was a little let down. The lamb kababs do melt in your mouth (an incredible sensation) as advertised and came with a delectable mint chutney which servers to hide the fact the lamb was weak on flavor. The dal grew on me while the other sides, like veggies, and naan were completely ordinary. If I got them anywhere else, there wouldn’t be a thought wasted on them. The lamb biryani served in a Dum Pukht was underwhelming. Maybe I just don’t know biryani, or maybe it’s not my thing, but the lamb (although cooked perfectly) and rice lacked flavor. You get a yogurt mix in to help fix this fatal flaw, but I was under the impression the biryani should stand on its own merits. Finally, we get to dessert, which was mind blowingly good. By far the best dessert I have had in India. The Zauk-E-Shahi (Khoya dumplings in saffron flavored reduced milk) and Gulab Ki Kheer (rice with milk, rose petals, pastichio and silver leaf) were perfectly creamy, not overly sweet, and something I think I will now only dream of when it comes to Indian desserts. Overall, I walked out (with everyone saying by Marc) feeling a little let down. Maybe I don’t understand Indian food, or maybe I had too high of an expectation. Given the price, ambiance, service, and some of the food (masala, sweet chutney, dessert) though, I would come back here in a heartbeat. Had I paid NY prices for this, I can see why a local may not be so quick to.