the dish

The Trick to Ugly Baby’s Addictive Deep-Fried Sea Bream

Ugly Baby, a new Thai restaurant in Carroll Gardens, has quickly gained a reputation among the chile-pepper cognoscenti for serving food that is off-the-Scoville-charts hot. But not every dish on the menu is designed to blow the top of your head off. Take, for instance, this deep-fried whole sea bream, a traditional southern-Thai dish, which forgoes chile heat in favor of a barrage of roughly ground turmeric, garlic, and black and white pepper. It’s suffused with spicy flavor if not spicy hot, yet has that certain compulsively edible quality about it that great Thai dishes have — the one that makes the evil food-science technicians who engineer snack foods to be addictive look like amateurs.

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Pla Tod Kamin: On the menu at Ugly Baby; $20; 407 Smith St., nr. 4th St., Carroll Gardens; 347-689-3075.

*This article appears in the December 11, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.

The Trick to Ugly Baby’s Addictive Deep-Fried Sea Bream