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General Manager at Delaney Chicken
Call this a Roundtable success story - I saw this place recommended on a different question, took my father for his birthday, and now I get to rave.
I often feel a bit guilty about my love of Indian food - not that liking Indian food is wrong in any way, but rather that my singular love of chicken tikka masala, itself an "Americanized" Indian dish, somehow makes me a "fake" Indian food fan.
Enter the tasting menu at Babu Ji, here to hold your hand as you wade into the deep water of one particular section of the gorgeous flavors of a spectacularly diverse Indian culture.
For a terrifically reasonable price, the tasting menu comfortably shows off a wide ranging set of interests and deep love of indian foods. The first four courses come one at a time and are all either visually stunning (Yogurt Croquettes in a beet root and ginger sauce), culinarily intriguing (General Tao's cauliflower), or more often both, most notably in the gol goppa pictured above - crispy balls stuffed with three types of chutney that the waiters insist you must eat in one bite.
A note on the waiters, who seem to be cast straight from the Bushwick food service school of disaffected hipsterism, until they open their mouths to reveal genuinely thoughtful dudes who know a ton about the food and are warmer than they have any need to be. We went for an early dinner on a Friday, and despite the sizable line that had formed for a table towards the end of our meal, we felt no pressure from any waiter to "turn" the table.
Back quickly to the food before i forget to compliment the main course(s) - each diner receives a personal platter full of various currys, each better than the next, the joint effect of which leads to a feeling of deep indulgence. The nann and rice are on point and act as lovely supporting players for each of the other pots of food. After consuming heroic amounts of the platter, each of my dining companions could do little but sit back in their chair with a sigh and a contented smile on their lips.
Not that the meal is over - For dessert, there's kulfi, a cardamom and pistachio ice cream pop made in a handmade antique metal tube, and the gulab jamun, an unbelievably moist and soft piece of sponge cake doused in a sugary rose water syrup. I have had both of those dishes before and found them both disgusting, which shocks me when I consider that they have been my favorite dishes of the night.
Overall, I can't endorse this place highly enough - the cuisine is inventive and fresh and interesting, the mood off the diners and of the staff is incredibly joyful in a wonderfully non-ironic sort of way, and the food is just plain delicious. Well worth seeking out.
Flushing, Queens resident, gastronome and wine aficianado
I keep hearing good things about Babu Ji...now I Just need to figure out when I can go there without a long wait. I think they only give reservations for the tasting menu?
12 months ago
I also went here after reading about it on RT -- one of my favorite meals in recent memory. Great review of this place!
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