Posts Tagged With: Ugly Baby

Top 10 Dishes of 2017

Nur Eggplant

Lobster Fra Diavolo at Nishi.  A beautiful mammoth mess consisting of 1.5 lb flash fried salt and pepper coated lobster on a bed of garlic, chili and XO infused spaghettoni (emphasis on the chili).  Lobster comes cracked and ready to easily fish out perfectly cooked meat, while the escaped crunchy Tempura flakes adds some texture to the pasta.  Its a $62 triumph.

Nishi - Lobster Fra Diavolo

Chicken Paitan at Ivan Ramen – Not the Ramen that made Ivan famous, but the one that may convert the nonfans.  The richness and deliciousness of a Tonkotsu without the heaviness that follows sometimes.  The only dish other than the classics that broke the rule and became available in both Ivan Ramen locations.

ivan-ramen-chicken-paitan

Chengdu Fish Fillet With Pickle Vegetable at Legend of Taste – A spice loving family of 4 can easily share this outrageously delicious Szechuan soup.  I shared it with 6 and 4 in different visits.  Plenty of flaky flounder and chewy Enoki Mushroom.  Pleasant heat sneak up at you.  Even good an hour later when it cools down.  Only problem with this legend is that its in Whitestone, Queens.

legend-of-taste-chengdu-fish

Smoked Goat Neck at Ducks Eatery – A revelation of sorts.  Dont know why it took me so long to try it.  It may sound like something that is not everyone’s cup of goat, but once you see what goes into this dish, it may be hard to resist.  It redefines tenderness, succulence, and simply outstanding all around.  The only restaurant in NYC that serves this dish.

Ducks Eatery Goat Neck

Skate Wing at Gloria – Very few things in life can be as satisfying as a well cooked Skate.  Seems like once a year or so these days I score a good one.  At Gloria the skate is simply seared with butter and sprinkled with magic dust.  Opened by two Contra alumni, Gloria is the best thing that opened in Hell’s Kitchen since Gotham West Market.

Gloria Skate Wing

Eggplant Carpaccio at Nur (top)– Maybe the best looking dish out of the bunch, and the only vegetarian this time.  Like a Baba Ganoush gone wild.  Smoky, creamy, crunchy at times, and something you just want to “Scarpetta” the heck out of.  Not every spoonful is the same.  Chef Meir Adoni is sort of a legend in Israel opening his first in NYC, and just knows how to handle those veggies.

Snow Crab in Chinese Restaurant at Pinch Chinese – This is one of those dishes that you continue to think about months later, sometimes even at inappropriate moments.  Glass noodles with heaps of crab, dressed with an outrageously delicious fermented bean sauce with chilies and scallions.  The crab was plentiful but almost plays second fiddle to the noodles with sauce.  Pinch is an underrated gem in Soho

Pinch Chinese Crab in Chinese Restaurant

Sizzling Sisig at Pig and Khao – East Village and Lower East Side is slowly transforming into Sisigville (pig’s face parts come sizzling and topped with egg yolk).  And the best Sisig I had is at this Filipino inspired celebrity chef Leah Cohen’s flagship.  Very nice depth, flavor packed, and not as strong tasting as other Sisigs.  No additional sauce needed for this one.

Pig and Khao Sisig

Laab Ped Udon at Ugly Baby – Maybe the best thing to open this year is this fiery Brooklyn Thai from an old Brooklyn friend.  And this larby Duck Salad is one of the classics early on.  Complex, addictive heat, and unlike any Larb or larb-like salad you will ever have.  Spice level is fairly high in all dishes here, but in particular in those that have words like “Spicy” in the description.

Ugly Baby Duck Salad

Fromage Blanc Island “Cheese Cake” at Chikalicious Dessert Bar – Best dessert I’ve had this year came from an oldie but goodie.  Its delicate, elegant, and super light.  Like delicious fresh cheese mixed with cloud.  Its worth just going in order to meet the master Chika Tillman herself.  But if this dessert scene is a little foofoo for you, try the faster Dessert Club across the street and go for the Nutty Professor ice cream.

Chikalicious Cheese Cake

Other Noteables:  Soy Keema at Indian Accent, Goi Hed at Somtum Der, Spicy Lemongrass soup at Ginger and Lemongrass (new Lower East Side location)

Happy and Healthy New Year to all my readers and all the fun people I met over the year.  Thanks for a great 2017!

Advertisements
Categories: New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ugly Baby Delivers Adorable Heat

Ugly BabyIt’s Michelin Star season.  When gracious winners throw parties to celebrate, while the losers and pretty much everyone else in the industry celebrate its awkwardness.  Its the behemoth that everyone enjoys hating.  In NYC two, and three stars are distributed with care while single stars are distributed like Halloween candy.  My mother turns out has one.  Some lose their hard earned stars within a year or two only to find themselves suddenly a lot more affordable (Bib Gourmet) while sporting the exact same menu that earned them the star.  Should you look at Michelin for your French, Sushi and the default “New American” menu needs?  Maybe.  Should you look for it for Italian, Thai, Russian or [Name any other cuisine] needs?  Nyet!

You would otherwise miss on places like Ugly Baby, the newest hottie in Carroll Gardens.  With elevated neighborhood joints like FOB, Lucali, Frankies Spuntino, Buttermilk Channel and the boozy Other Half Brewing, Carroll Gardens is transforming into a dining and drinking destination.  Young professionals, tourists, accountants and even parents of beautiful babies in the nearby Park Slope are noticing the development, and this newest Seinfeld-esque name.  Apparently in Thailand its more common to call babies ugly so not to attract the ugly spirit.  An important lesson the next time you give a baby a compliment.

Hence at Ugly Baby the name serves as an anti-jinx agent.  And if the ugly spirit (lets call it Michelin) cant be fooled by the name, the spices will sure block it.  BYOB in this case means Bring Your Own Bounty.  We are talking about people all over the place sweating like a hooker on a “$5 Wednesday”.  When we asked the friendly waiter what they are planning to do with the entrance when it gets cold, he said “We will just add more spices”.  An hour later, all warm and fuzzy, we concluded he was serious.

Ugly Baby Chicken Skewers

The dishes here are fittingly ugly as you can see.  Just like picking Thai establishments on 9th, the uglier the better.  The Duck Salad (Ugly Duckling?) ended any hope of easing you in slowly as they throw you straight into the fire.  Complex, addictive heat, unlike any Larb I ever had.  The closest thing to a must here.  The Chicken Thigh Skewers will make you cry a little more, and cry every time you eat chicken satay at [Name any Thai Restaurant].  More succulence without easing too much on the heat.  By this point your tingling mouth is telling you this is as far as as you can get from Pad Thai nation.

The Kha Soi, perhaps the most underrated soup in the world, features welcomed sweetness and restrain, but more pleasant heat nonetheless and outrageously delicious beef shank cubes.  At this point you start to wonder which dish you like best.  Your hand keeps poking at the ugly duckling, so maybe that’s the one.  The Snapper, swimming in ginger & tamarind broth serves as something between a cooling agent and a waste of dish, once you try everything else.  This may be the true Ugly Duckling.  The final bill at the end answered the “do they have any desserts, like something with sticky rice inside a banana leaf” question.  Dessert or not, Ugly Baby is for real and a major Go!

Ugly Baby
407 Smith St, Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens)
Rating: Three Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Kha Soi, Chicken Skewers, Duck Salad

 

Categories: Brooklyn, New York City | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.