Babu Ji

IMG_9965

Now that Winter has actually kicked in, in NYC, you probably crave comfort food. And, if you’re like me, you want comfort food that’s hot and spicy too, because, extra warmth. I love Indian food, which pretty much checks these marks for me, so, I was off to Babu Ji in Alphabet City.

IMG_9969

A mix of modern elegance meets local deli kind of sums up the aesthetic of this contemporary Indian restaurant. You’ll find striking, large print photographs framed on the wall, along with a projecting Indian movie, and, a stuffed peacock on top of a self-serve beverage refrigerator. But once your food starts coming out, you won’t even be paying attention to what’s around you, and only what’s in front of you. Not only are the dishes all visually captivating, they’re insanely delicious. And, the entire staff here was so amazing, attentive, courteous, and, if you’re a crazy food-picture-taker like myself, you’re in luck, because one of our servers asked a few times if I’d like him to provide some additional light from his phone. What a gem! Ok, food, let’s get into it. Get some Naan. It’s warm, soft and pillowy, but still has a nice chew to it. The flavors are delicate, but give the dough a little pizzaz.

IMG_9967

All of the appetizers sounded amazing, so, I started with a couple to share. First was Papadi Chaat (chickpea, cucumber, pomegranate, tamarind, mint and yogurt chutney). They describe it as the motherland’s version of nachos and salsa, a must try. And, they’re 100% right, this dish was unbelievable. First off, it’s stunning to look at, but each ingredient is so fresh and dynamic, and you can really taste all of the flavors individually, while going so wonderfully all together. Texture wise, you really have everything here, you’ve got crunch from the slaw and the chips, creaminess from the chutney, and all of the other elements in between. It was really fantastic, and you must order it.

IMG_9966

Ok, so, before I even start about the second appetizer, I need to take a breath. Ok, breath taken. This was possibly one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while, and definitely my favorite thing from my meal here. I had their Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower (Indo-Chinese style cauliflower in a tomato chili sauce, sesame and onion seed, chives). So, they killed it in the immitation department, replicating General Tso’s Chicken from the outside. But, take a bite and this vegan dish made out of cauliflower tastes crazily similar. Everything about this dish was pure perfection, from the sweet, tangy, and spicy sauce, to the airy and crisp breading around the tender and flavorful cauliflower. I wish I could go on forever about this, but, my fingers will get too tired from typing. So, let’s meet up for a plate of Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower and I’ll talk your ear off about it.

IMG_9968

For my main, I ordered Baingan Bartha (Spiced and fire roasted eggplant curry with green peas). Again, presentation on point. And flavor wise, excellent. The eggplant is pureed into a consistency in between a spread and a paste, making it very substantial. There’s a really nice kick of heat, and the freshness of the peas and shaved veggies on top help to cool your mouth a little bit and add a nice textural component.

The Shorts:
Name: Babu Ji
Location: 175 Avenue B, NYC
The Shorts: Would I go back? Let me think about it…YES! Did you not read my obsessive fan-girl review of that cauliflower?
Would I recommend it? 100%. In fact, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go. I can’t even think of one complaint. The staff is incredible, the food is outstanding, what else could you ask for?

The Hamilton

image

Another weekend day, another brunch, right? Right. So, my friends brought me to The Hamilton in Washington DC. This grand venue has a couple enormous dining rooms, another room for a bar, and even a room downstairs where they’ll host a Gospel Brunch. Hallelujah!

image_2

They have a really eclectic menu too, with some great American classics, Southern dishes, a sushi menu, and even some signature boozy milkshakes. While the decor really gives you a grand, and elegant atmosphere, you can actually dine pretty casually. 

image_1

To start, I ordered  their Hibiscus Mimosa (Carmina Prosecco, hibiscus flower, Byrrh Grand Quinaquina). Loved it. It was refreshing, not too sweet, and the best part is the edible candied hibiscus flower at the bottom.

Then for the table to start, we had the Salted Caramel Pecan Sticky Bun. Yeah, you should probably get that. It’s generous in size, served warm, with a sweet and slightly salted glaze that’s perfectly topped with candied pecans. I mean, nothing to complain about here. 

image_3

Then, for my entree I had the Herb Crusted Cod with smashed peas. I really enjoyed this dish. The peas were a mix of smashed and puree and whole, which was a really great textural combination. The Cod was savory and flavorful with a really nice texture, going so wonderfully with the peas. 

The Shorts:
Name: The Hamilton
Location: 600 14th Street, N.W., Washington, DC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. That hibiscus, the sticky bun, it’s a win-win situation. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, and I’m pretty positive the Gospel Brunch is amazing.