Now that Babu Ji has moved near Union Square, its old home in Alphabet City has given way to a new Indian joint. Old Monk, a contemporary Indian soul food restaurant, opens tonight on Avenue B.
Navjot Arora, chef and co-owner, should feel right at home there. He tells us it reminds him of “the residential areas around Union Square 18 years back when I opened Cafe Spice with owner Sushil Malhotra. It is home to savvy professionals that know their food.”
This new restaurant was conceptualized and created by Arora and Malhotra, and its menu features some twists on old favorites like goat cheese naan with pumpkin and melon seeds. Arora will also include a riff on a dish his in-laws make, wild rice jhaal mori with wasabi peas, tamarind and mint.
Though it’s named after an Indian brand of dark rum, Old Monk won’t serve hard booze. Once it gets its beer-and-wine license, it’ll offer a sizable selection of craft beers and global wines. Weekend brunches are also set to debut in the near future.
Arora said the weekend brunch will feature South Indian inspired dishes; his personal favorite is the Kuttu parotta, which is bread, eggs, onions and and a housemade curry leaf-infused sauce.
Old Monk is set to open tonight at 5:30 p.m. Look for the photos of modern monks on cell phones and using cameras.
Old Monk, 175 Avenue B, at East 11th St., East Village; (646) 559-2922.