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Popular NYC Indian Restaurant to Clone Itself in SF

Babu Ji is headed to the Mission

NYC's Babu Ji
NYC's Babu Ji
Robert Sietsema

Popular NYC Indian restaurant Babu Ji is coming to San Francisco. Owners Jennifer Singh and her chef-husband, Jessi, are bringing their Momofuku-like approach to Indian cuisine, one with feel-good vibes, a stripped-down setting, and a small and affordable, yet ambitious menu, to the Mission. Taking over the Nostra Spaghetteria space (which went on sale back in March), Babu Ji serves inventive takes on Indian fare, like with its Colonel Tso's cauliflower, which is coated in agrodolce chile sauce, deep-fried, and topped with sesame seeds:

Babu Ji’s Colonel Tso cauliflower Daniel Krieger

Colonel Tso's cauliflower | Photo: Daniel Krieger

Babu Ji has traveled far and wide and made many friends before landing here, having been born in Melbourne, Australia (where it was called the city’s best Indian restaurant), then sending a sibling outpost to Manhattan’s East Village, where it was well-received by critics and diners alike. Eater NY’s own critic Ryan Sutton gave the restaurant two out of four stars, for "making a lot of us excited about Indian food for the first time since Floyd Cardoz opened Tabla with Danny Meyer in 1998," he wrote. He even named it one of the top restaurants of 2015.

It’s not all been smooth sailing, though, for the laid-back, party-forward (there’s a serve-yourself beer fridge) Indian hot spot; the restaurant is currently facing a lawsuit that alleges the owners pocketed tips that were meant for their employees and did not pay them adequate overtime compensation.

Meanwhile, the Singh’s are forging ahead with plans to open here, with a mid-fall timeline. Stay tuned for more details.

Nostra Spaghetteria

280 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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