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BellyQ Modern Asian BBQ By Julie Chernoff
You’ve got to respect Chef Bill Kim. After doing time in the fine-dining destination kitchens of David Bouley (NYC), Susanna Foo (Philly) and Charlie Trotter, he joined forces with his wife, Yvonne Cadiz Kim, and got back to his roots with Urban Belly in Logan Square. It was a huge hit right out of the gate. Next came Belly Shack, a mash-up of Korean and Latino “soul” food. Another smash. And now, with the opening of BellyQ in the old 160 Blue space on Randolph, Kim is three for three. Clearly he has his finger on the pulse of the Chicago food zeitgeist. Filled with industrial touches of unfinished wood, rough cement, and brushed steel, the interior feels both warm and modern. Servers wear handcrafted leather butcher’s aprons, horses gallop across moveable glass panels, and the (somewhat sparse) lighting glows from metal baskets and funky clear glass teardrops. You will be tempted to slip the gorgeous leather check presenter in your purse. Resist the urge.
The beverage service is every bit as intriguing as the décor. Wines are offered on tap only—a revolving selection of two reds and two whites—by the glass, liter and half liter, and the bottled beer choices are limited but well chosen. The “Culinary Inspired” craft cocktails ($9) feature ingredients that may be new to you, but go for it. The Serpentine blends Sudachi Shochu (a distilled Japanese spirit similar to vodka), a coconut vinegarplum infusion and fresh cucumber into an Asian version of Pimm’s cup. We also enjoyed the Long Goodnight, a playful mix of bitter and sweet, with roasted pineapple, Cocchi Americano (an aperitif), lemonberry tea syrup, Benedictine and orange bitters. Belly Bites
As for the food, you’ve got some choices to make, and it won’t be easy because everything sounds so damn good. Or you can follow our lead and order
11/5/12 7:43 PM