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Ugly Baby

Thai Smith Street Brooklyn

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#1 Sneakeater

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:21 PM

This new Thai place, on the Carroll Gardens end of Smith Street, is essentially a permanent continuation of the Chiang Mai pop-up in Red Hook (which in turn was a rebel offshoot of Kao Soy on the next block).  Same vibe as Chiang Mai, same alt-rock playlist -- and similar or even the same pan-Thai (not regional) food (I recognized many dishes on the menu).

 

So if you liked Chiang Mai -- as I very much did -- you'll like Ugly Baby.  I had crispy pork skin in curried rice (you wrap it in lettuce leaves with other crisp vegetables), and that plate they had at Chiang Mai of braised pork shoulder and pork ribs.  The spice level of these dishes was medium high -- at least one dish on the menu is listed as "brutal" -- the flavors were clearly etched, and I give this place the same high recommendation I gave Chiang Mai.  This woman can COOK.


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#2 GerryOlds

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 06:02 PM

I believe it's her male chef-partner who's cooking here.



#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 07:05 PM

Oooops.


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#4 Steve R.

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 09:48 PM

http://mouthfulsfood...-about/page-211

 

Missed this, huh?


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#5 Sneakeater

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 09:56 PM

No, totally saw it.  Just have no memory left anymore.  (Or perhaps I've lost the ability to make gender distinctions.) (Which would be just as well.)


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#6 paryzer

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 02:20 AM

Seitsema gives Ugly Baby 3 stars.

 

https://ny.eater.com...baby-review-nyc


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#7 paryzer

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 07:56 PM

Wells gives Ugly Baby a pretty enthusiastic 2 stars.

 

https://www.nytimes....=imageslideshow


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#8 Lex

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 09:33 PM

Wells' review seems fair.

 

Deb and I went with another MF couple a few weeks back.  I didn't write down the specific dishes we had and, as expected, my memory fails me on the specifics.

 

Overall the comparison to Kao Soy and Chiang Mai is a good one.  Limited menu, a number of dishes not found at other Thai restaurants, and heat levels on the high side verging on the overwhelming.  If your tolerance for heat is high you'll be OK although it's a bit like getting punched in the face 3 or 4 times in a row.  At other Thai places you can mix and match very hot and mid range dishes.  At UB they serve things the way they think they should be.  If one of your dinner companions has limited tolerance for heat they better be a good sport.

 

I liked much of what I had - other people did too.  OTOH I'd like a deeper menu.  UB is fine if you're in the mood for what they have.  If you're not, you need to go someplace else.

 

BYO for now.  That keeps the prices down.  The menu averages 20% to 30% higher than the Queens Thai pantheon.  Then again, that's still relatively inexpensive.

 

In Carroll Gardens UB is definitely the flavor of the month.  My friend recommended that we arrive early since they get really busy at prime time. He was right.  We got there at 6:30 and got one of the last tables.  People who arrived at 7:00 had to wait.   I'd be more inclined to put this place in the rotation if seating wasn't a potential issue. 

 

Winter visits could also be problematic.  The place only seats about 30 people and table choice was restricted.  There were a couple of tables right by the door and the people sitting there ate with their coats on. 

 

The chef/owner was on the floor and was absolutely charming.  I wish him success.


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#9 Orik

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:55 AM

there's a place Lex didn't discover, can't be any good. 


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#10 Steve R.

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 06:00 PM

Ginny & I went with Lex & Deb.  As with the old Khao Soi (& then Chiang Mai), its a storefront type place with a limited menu.  And, as Lex said, they prepare each dish as they wish -- no consulting with the customer on any aspect.  And they make it clear that just about everything is spicy -- "as it should be eaten".  Bottom line: It was too spicy for Ginny to consider going back but, other than my sweat glands getting a workout, I generally liked it quite a bit.  

 

Dishes are all ordered at the same time & come out as ready.  We were warned &, sure enough, there was no way to deal with this other than to eat when served, even if it wasn't a shared dish (as several weren't).  The shared spicy duck salad was very good, albeit at the spice limit for each of us (& way over it for Ginny).  Ginny had the Red Snapper in Ginger and was able to eat it and even enjoy it.  The Khao Soi itself (which is what I ordered) is made with meat, not chicken, but otherwise pretty much the same as that served in the old places.  As much as I love chicken dishes, I think the meat improved the dish.  I'd gladly eat it again.  I think Lex had the Beef Brisket soup and liked it well enough.  I can't remember what Deb ordered but I do know that she was good in sharing it and that I liked it.  It was a non-soup stir fried meat dish, nicely done.  We also had something else, but what it was escapes me now.

 

Since Ginny can't really eat there and since I pass by periodically on my way home from tennis, I foresee take out as the future for me.  I'm not sure Khao Soi will survive that but we'll see.

 

eta: I guess I should go read the Wells review.


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#11 hollywood

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 07:48 PM


Then that happened.

 

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#12 irnscrabblechf52

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 02:57 AM

Very good but very expensive, if you're hungry and drink. The spiciest dish we ordered was a jackfruit salad with various pig parts and chili. A friend suffered.
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#13 Steve R.

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 03:52 AM

They now have a liquor license?


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#14 irnscrabblechf52

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 01:41 PM

Beer only I think.
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#15 mongo_jones

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 03:28 PM

Ginny & I went with Lex & Deb.  As with the old Khao Soi (& then Chiang Mai), its a storefront type place with a limited menu.  And, as Lex said, they prepare each dish as they wish -- no consulting with the customer on any aspect.  And they make it clear that just about everything is spicy -- "as it should be eaten".  Bottom line: It was too spicy for Ginny to consider going back but, other than my sweat glands getting a workout, I generally liked it quite a bit.  

 

Dishes are all ordered at the same time & come out as ready.  We were warned &, sure enough, there was no way to deal with this other than to eat when served, even if it wasn't a shared dish (as several weren't).  The shared spicy duck salad was very good, albeit at the spice limit for each of us (& way over it for Ginny).  Ginny had the Red Snapper in Ginger and was able to eat it and even enjoy it.  The Khao Soi itself (which is what I ordered) is made with meat, not chicken, but otherwise pretty much the same as that served in the old places.  As much as I love chicken dishes, I think the meat improved the dish.  I'd gladly eat it again.  I think Lex had the Beef Brisket soup and liked it well enough.  I can't remember what Deb ordered but I do know that she was good in sharing it and that I liked it.  It was a non-soup stir fried meat dish, nicely done.  We also had something else, but what it was escapes me now.

 

Since Ginny can't really eat there and since I pass by periodically on my way home from tennis, I foresee take out as the future for me.  I'm not sure Khao Soi will survive that but we'll see.

 

eta: I guess I should go read the Wells review.

 

 

surprised you guys don't order family style--or are things served as individual plates here?


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