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PHOTOS COURTESY OF BELLYQ

most of the menu. Start with some A few tables in the front of the resof the “belly Bites” like the Addictive taurant feature inset grills where you Edamame ($4), bright green pods can cook your own proteins in the swathed in soy, balsamic, sun-dried Korean style, but we were perfectly tomatoes, fermented black bean paste, content to let the kitchen do it for us. crispy shallots and who knows what Banana Leaf-Wrapped Salmon ($20), else. They are vegetable was cooked to a turn, but crack. Or maybe the Thaioverwhelmed by lemonStyle Fried Chicken ($9), grass. The Asian coleslaw, BellyQ perfectly crisped and moist 1400 W. Randolph St. vinegary and refreshing, Chicago within, topped with a sweet was a bright spot on the 312-563-1010 red chili sauce. Yum. plate. The Korean Short bellyqchicago.com More fried goodness apRibs were a rare disappointpears in Crispy Tofu ($8) ment, but enlivened by the with sweet and sour plum trio of tasty dipping sauces. sauce and pickled onions. Our spirits soared with There is hot oil wizardry happening the Tea-Smoked Duck Breast ($23), back in the kitchen, because these are ruby slices of succulent, smoky meat, greaseless. stir-fried Chinese broccoli, and a platThe Chilled Soba Noodle Salad ter of pleasantly spongy, steamed Chi($10) is a cool tangle of buckwheat noo- nese buns, a guilty pleasure. This is a dles, Thai basil and Chinese-style egg- don’t miss dish. plant, topped with olive oil-poached shrimp. You’ll also want to try one of SOFT SERVE? YES! But wait! There’s more! Dessert is their savory Asian pancakes, made in a wood-burning oven, and thinner and phenomenal here. And there’s really crispier than any I’ve had before. Ours only one, with three variations: a vanilwas topped with nubs of Nueske’s ba- la and coconut milk soft serve, creamy con, kimchee and mixed greens in a and divine, layered with fruit ice. Our favorite was the Huckleberry Ice parblack vinegar-soy sauce dressing. The Tofu Hot Pots are a must, and fait ($6), topped with lime zest and perfect for sharing with the table. The Thai basil seed spheres, although the Seafood variety ($14) featured dashi Citrus Ice with Yuzu Tapioca pearls broth, squid, shrimp, meltingly soft was a close second. This is a place I can’t wait to revisit, astofu, chunks of rice cake and vegetables. It had real depth of flavor; not just suming I can ever get another reservation. But it’s definitely worth the effort. one note of spice.

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11/7/12 10:20 AM

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