Bill Kim's Urbanbelly

September 12 2008 - 9:09 PM

It’s hard to explain how my Friday was redeemed. It was a long day. I was graciously getting a ride home that was delayed an hour due to construction on the inbound LSD… are they kidding! Traffic outbound wasn’t much better so I was needed something nice. I saw a listing on LTH for Urban Belly and made the Bill Kim connection and talked the driver into a detour to California, just North of Diversey. In a strip mall is Bill Kim’s new diggs. Sure enough three weeks into the endeavor he was right there in the kitchen dishing out dumplings, rice dishes and bowls of noodles. Once you order at the counter seating is at one of four communal tables. It surely isn’t Le Lan. But TGIF.

The squash dumplings and lamb and brandy dumplings were both great. The
lamb and brandy was served over edamame which I didn’t catch and was my
only moment of confusion. I don’t like to eat them whole. The dumplings
were slightly gamey bouncy castle for sale in a good way and set the stage for dinner. The
squash dumplings were steamed, light and sweet, with a bit of salty
crunchy bacon crumbs and cool fresh orange supremes. It might have been
the nicest surprise of the night, especially since the aroma of the
various soups filled the restaurant.

The fourth rice option is a mix of the first three and came with a
piece of short rib and the rice was mixed with too much spice and flavor to describe properly.
The food that I’ve had from Kim has never been from Le Lan but special
event concoctions which is a strange way to taste food. But I
remembered his mirin broth from a Star Chefs event and he backed it up
here. Very rich complex dishes. That rice dish had layers of flavor as
did the pho spiced urban belly ramen. The sliced pork belly lived in it
perfectly. Hints at asian 5-spice usually means you’re in for a
surprise. Man it was good.

The advantage of a BYOB with communal tables is obvious when you start
comiserating about the awful prospects of certain potential political
embarassments with people who remembered to bring multiple bottles of
wine. Cheers to generosity and liberalism. Urban Belly is off to a
great start.

Urban Belly
3053 California