Looks like Babu Ji is truly dunzo — another Indian restaurant is strolling into the former space of the beleaguered East Village hotspot. EV Grieve reports that prolific restaurateur Sushil Malhotra, who runs a slew of Indian restaurants like Cafe Spice in Grand Central, and Westchester chef Navjot Arora wants to open a restaurant called Old Monk in the 175 Avenue B space.
According to a proposed menu, Old Monk will serve small plates like a lamb meatball sliders with lemon-tahini and entrees like butter chicken with lemon rice, short rib vindaloo, and fig/spinach/paneer cheese dumplings. See the full proposed menu here.
Arora runs the kitchen at Chutney Masala in Westchester, a longtime restaurant that received a favorable review from the Times back in 2008. Malhotra is a partner in that restaurant, but he also owns several business in New York City proper, including Murray Hill casual spot Curry in a Hurry and the more than 30-year-old upscale Indian restaurant Dawat in Midtown East. He also has massive plans to expand his more casual restaurant and catering operation Cafe Spice and Cafe Spice Express, which has at one point been served in Whole Foods and college cafeterias.
Former Australian-Indian food world darling Babu Ji shut its doors in March after the owners faced two wage theft and overtime lawsuits. Owners Jessi and Jennifer Singh originally said it would be a temporary closure, but it quickly started to look like it would never return. With the new owners applying for a liquor license, Babu Ji definitely won’t be coming back to the space any time soon.