Belly Belly

16 Dec

Last week I got my hair done again at a cool place called Twisted Scissors where my stylist made me re-charged with color and more punk.  Thank god I was getting bored.  I was very hungry after sitting in the chair for a few hours and I decided it was time to hit the Belly Shack.  Korean fast food was stuck in my mind.

Recently I visited the Urban Belly, the big brother to the Shack a few weeks back.  Where friends and I dined on 3 different types of dumplings one duck, one pork, and one squash.  All were very delicious.  For our entrees one had the pork belly & pineapple rice, Urban Belly ramen (pork belly, shiitake, and pho broth), and I had the rice cake (chicken, mango, and korean chili sauce).  Kick ass!  My chicken mango rice cake dish was out of this world, spicy and sweet.  The only comment was that the mango needed to be ripe.

The Urban Belly is BYOB and super laid back.  You order in the front and are seated at a communal table.  The service is minimal, but the food is out of this world.  So you see I had to check out the Shack.

The Shack is right under the El.  Parking was tough, but I managed to find a spot my third go around the blocks.  I got in there and the menu was small about 16 options, but they are 5 entrees, 3 soup/salads,  4 sides, and 4 soft serve ice creams.  Plus one special.   I ordered a korean bbq beef (bulgolgi) and tostones (plantain chips).  I sat down and waited.

My korean beef with kimchi (cabbage, bean sprouts, and zucchini) was so flavorful and exciting.  Not to spicy, not too sweet, balanced just right and served with a flat bread.

The tostones were great snacks, salty, spicy, a

little sweet, and acidy.

I like this concept of fast food that is fabulous and high quality.  If more places were like this in Chicago or other cities in the States, small independent restaurant would be more popular and possibly more profitable.  The food is great and the service is limited.  Really, if I come to eat I want to eat.  If it is time to dine, then I expect high quality service.  Restaurants like this put the eater/diner in the driver’s seat.

I salute Chef Bill Kim for both of his restaurants, which both won Michelin Bib Gourmand Awards this year.  Plus, Chef Kim was nominated for a James Beard award last year.  On his website Chef Kim says that “I keep myself open to learning everything I can and apply some of that knowledge to my own style of cooking.”  I am excited what other ideas he has in his mind.  He is a chef to watch, his head is in the right place.  I would like to see a Belly concept on my side of town.

Yes.  I will be back to both places

Urban Belly
3053 N. California Ave.
Chicago, IL. 60618

Belly Shack
1912 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-4332
(773) 252-1414



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