WHO TO TAKE: YOUR FRIEND THAT’S CRAVING SOME SPICE AND SUPER-FRESH INDIAN FLAVORS OR TO INTRODUCE SOMEONE TO NEW TASTES
Jessi and Jennifer Singh, an Australian couple with three acclaimed restaurants have brought their talents to NYC. I love the meaning of the restaurant’s name: Babu Ji refers to that “self-appointed neighborhood ambassador who knows everyone and everything that’s happening in the village. He’s a real character who always has a great story.” We all know this type! Especially in NYC.
Thier menu is just the right length, and fits into three categories: Indian street food, cross regional curries and tandoori specialties. We certainly had enough to eat here with the naan platter alone! Here’s how our dinner went…
Of course we needed to have some bread, so we got an order of the Papadum, Chutney & Naan Platter, which arrived with a surplus of bread and six different spreads which went from sweet to HOT: sweet mango, mint, cumin-spiced yogurt, tamarind, pickled mango, and chili hot sauce. Also from the Street section we thought to try the Brentwood Tandoori Corn Salad, which was really out of this world, accompanied by heirloom tomato, grape, and cucumber in a chaat vinaigrette. No spice there, they saved that for the Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower, which was raw and covered in a tomato & chili sauce, and had a lot of crunch. This was borderline-too-spicy for me, but enjoyable nonetheless.
From the Pots menu section, an order of the Coconut Prawn Curry sounded enticing, and arrived in a gorgeous turmeric-dyed bright yellow mustard seed and coconut curry. This was sensational, especially paired with the perfectly cooked Basmati Rice, which arrived dressed with edible blue flower petals.
Also of note, Rory tried a cocktail, called the Sardarni Ji which was composed of Hendrick’s gin, elderflower, black pepper, cucumber, lime, celery bitters. An interesting mix! (seen in the photo at the top of this post)
The restaurant is laid out with the bar room downstairs, a room adorned with purple lights on the ceiling greets you as you enter. Upstairs is the dining room which projects Indian movies onto a white brick wall to accompany the Indian soundtrack. They have doors which close off the back aream which can be rented out as a private party space,
Babu Ji, 22 East 13th St (betw 5th Ave/University)