firstly, thanks to malik for organizing.
as there were about ten of us, we ordered in advance the kind of things a maharastrian normally eats.
for starters, a) coriander leaf bound with (besan?) flour and drizzled with green and tamarind chutney
b) potato patty garnished with chickpeas and a shmoosh of yoghurt (a gussied up version of a bombay street food ragda patties)
and then the mains:
a) pitla (a maharastrian dal held together with besan flour, very smooth and meant to be eaten hot with bhakri, a thick chapatti made with bajri/jowar flour)
b) pohe (flattened rice cooked in the classic phodni of rai seeds and turmeric)
c) potato bhaji (boiled and lightly fried with cumin and coriander seeds)
d) matki usal (sprouted moth beans)
e) chicken miravna (green chicken curry using coriander, methi, coconut milk from the patre prabhus)
f) ghati goat (invented name, a generic whole spice flavoured dish)
g) rice, chappattis and an attempt at bhakri
i was shocked how close they came to home cooking. my cousin and his (excellent cook, natch) wife were with us, and they too marveled at the cooking. i think consensus for excellence was the pitla and chicken for the weakest dish but i'd be interested to hear other reactions.
if nothing else, this ought to prove my point in spades: eat vegetables in good indian restaurants! the range of flavours and the very deft spicing are a tribute to real skill, while any dunderhead like me can cook meat.