Thai eatery Ugly Baby has opened its doors to New Yorkers in Carroll Gardens. Featuring traditional Thai fare and a colorful decor, Ugly Baby has been making waves since it launched in August. Pete Wells of The New York Times awarded it two stars in a recent review.
Ugly Baby has a sound pedigree. Run by Thai chef Sirichai Sreparplarn from Bangkok, the restaurant is the latest in a line of popular Thai eateries in Brooklyn. Sreparplarn earlier helmed Kao Soy in Red Hook. Working in tandem with his co-chef Kanlaya Supachana, Sreparplarn provided locals with northern Thai dishes like sai oua and kaeng hang le. After the restaurant closed in summer 2015, the two chefs moved on to pop-up Chiang Mai. Despite rumors that Chiang Mai would find a permanent home in Crown Heights, the two chefs eventually parted ways. Supachana moved to North Carolina, and Sreparplarn decided to open a new restaurant that includes dishes from different parts of Thailand.
Ugly Baby is located on Smith Street at the edge of Carroll Gardens. Its name is a reference to the traditional Thai practice of not complimenting a baby for the first three months of its life in case evil spirits decide to steal it. Sreparplarn has installed his eatery on the former site of HBH Gourmet Sandwiches, adding 30 seats and bright murals. Ugly Baby’s open kitchen plan and no-frills decor lends an air of authenticity to the food. Patrons should arrive prepared for the onslaught of hot Thai spices. In a noted departure from his earlier ventures, Sreparplarn has elected to feature menu items from central Thailand, southern Thailand and Bangkok. Signature northern dishes like khao soi nuer are still available, but Sreparplarn has also added dishes like gao lao nuer toon, a beef brisket soup from Bangkok, and gai golae, a southern Thai plate of chicken skewers.