This is located on 11th Street at Avenue B, in the old Spina space.
These guys have restaurants in Australia (the chef told me he's from Melbourne), and this is their first foray into NYC. The style is, I guess, "modern Indian". Is it authentic? I have no idea. Not sure if Babu Ji focuses on any particular region, but it should be noted that the chef (Jessi Singh) is Punjabi.
The place is already not so easy to get into - I was able to get in fairly easily around 10pm on a Saturday night, but they were still pretty packed. They maintain a wait list on a clipboard outside that you write your name on and wait to be called.
Sharing is encouraged. They give you a metal tray to eat off of, and each course is placed in the middle with serving spoons. They serve beer and wine only, and beer is self-service (you have to grab it yourself out of their beer fridge).
Gol gappa ($12)
Yogurt* kebab ($14)
Lamb rogan josh ($20)
Roasted squash coconut curry ($16)
Basmati rice ($5)
Gulab jamon ($6)
The food was, mostly, terrific. The gol gappa came as six oval-shaped crisps filled with tamarind and spices, which you pop in your mouth and eat whole. Terrific. The yogurt kebab was two hockey puck shaped, fried yogurt rounds with spices, served in a beet sauce. Very good. The lamb rogan josh was cubes of lamb served in a brown curry sauce, but more thin than the typical curry. Very good. The roasted squash coconut curry was chunks of squash in a thick, yellow coconut curry - this may have been the least favorite of the night. It was overly sweet. The daal was actually our favorite - this was a cup of thick, stewed lentils and spices. Terrific. Desserts were actually very good, too. The kulfi - flavored with cardamom and pistachio, comes in a metal tube that you have to warm up with your hands in order to get it to release from the tube. It's probably the best kulfi being served in the city right now. The gulab jamon were also terrific - they were two, sort of Indian-style donut holes, topped with gold leaf and drowned in honey.
The bill came to around $150 for two before tip, including a bottle of wine. I would say it's definitely worth a trip. Probably the most interesting Indian restaurant in town right now.
*The menu didn't mention if the yogurt contained additives.