Music journalists in New York inevitably find themselves at Baby’s All Right. Whether it’s the prime Williamsburg location or Baby’s tendency to book the best upcoming talent, the two-year-old venue is something of a home base during city-wide festivals like CMJ or just particularly packed live music weeks. A rock-bottom happy hour price of only $3 for their alluring Pink Baby cocktail doesn’t hurt either—neither does the fact that happy hour lasts till 8pm. The full menu of standard new American dishes available in the restaurant half of the venue was just icing on the cake–until now.
This fall, Baby’s has doubled down on their food offerings, moving the cuisine front and center by incorporating a menu that’s a collaboration with their Bangkok sister restaurant Soul Food Mahanakorn. Baby’s co-owner Zachary Mexico and Jarrett Wrisley opened Mahanakorn in Bangkok five years ago, and the reception has been so positive they’ve decided to shift a full Thai menu to Brooklyn. Michael Sablan, formerly of Mission Chinese Food and Northeast Kingdom, and Wrisley pooled their respective talents to concoct an updated take on some of Soul Food’s most popular dishes for the Brooklyn music venue.
The nine item menu veer strongly toward delicious carnivorous options: Moo Bing pork skewers with fish sauce dip ($8); Khao Soi Cowboys, pork shoulder sliders with crispy Khao Soi noodles, mint and mustard pickles ($12); and the Risky Chicken, an updated fried chicken done Thai-style and served with papaya salad on a bun. But a vegetarian companion can help expand your experience, as the menu offers plenty of meatless options too, like the otherworldly Green Curried Fried Rice, which ditches wok-induced crispiness for risotto-style softness, and can come flecked with pumpkin, smoked tofu, mushrooms and eggplant in place of braised beef cheeks ($12). Mien Kham takes a similar tack, swapping smoked pork for crispy tofu in a lettuce wrap topped off with toasted coconut and fried garlic for flavor and textured crunch.
Of course, for those who can’t do without a serving of ribs, the menu offers that possibility as well. Sticky Tamarind Ribs fall off the bone ($15). They’re doused in Soul Food’s secret barbecue sauce, whose sweetness is highlighted with tamarind, lemongrass and chili. These are ribs tender enough to eat with a knife and fork if you’re heading in to see a concert afterwards and don’t want to get too messy.
Most creatively, the menu features an alcoholic foray into beach-y Thai hedonism, in the form of enormous custom “buckets,” or tubs of liquor suitable for three to four people. The unassuming vats are fixtures in Thailand’s coastal cities, and last night we tried and failed to consume a full serving of Under The Armchairs ($20). A fierce combination of tequila, almond, chile, lime, and Pacifico beer, this drink reads similar to a Thai Iced Tea, if it were spiked and spicy. Post-show reverie will get a boost from both the spicy, savory menu and these delightful alcoholic experiments in flavor and moderation.
Baby’s All Right: 146 Broadway, Williamsburg