Thursday, May 14, 2009

Urban Belly

I've recently discovered that a large part of my day is dedicated to finding restaurants. I ask my boss, Lisa, if she's tried anything new or heard anything good about certain eateries. I force my husband to take me to new places all the time when he would rather hit up the regular spots. Although, I think he's realized that we won't really have any "regular" spots anymore, since one of my favorite things in life is trying a new place to eat. Here in Chicago, new restaurants open up daily and trying to stay on top of it is time consuming and expensive, but if you read enough reviews and menus and sift through the pile of new "hot spots" you can really find some quality places to spend a good evening.

One place I found was

Urban Belly
Located at 3053 N California Ave in Avondale/Logan Square (773) 583-0500

There are a couple of reasons why this Contemporary Asian restaurant is one of my favorites. First, the menu. When I walk into a restaurant and I see that the menu only has a few items, I usually feel confident about my future dining experience. I've discovered that when given 20 options in each category (20 types of chicken, 20 types of beef, 20 types of sides...well you get the picture) it's rarely a good meal. Chef Bill Kim has created 5 dumplings (try the Duck and Pho Spices), 4 rice dishes, 6 noodle dishes (my favorite, the Soba Noodles with scallops) and 4 sides. There aren't even 20 things on the menu! To me, this means that the chef took his time picking which items would make the cut and created something delicious in each bowl.
My second reason for loving Urban Belly is the communal dining. I was a little hesistant at first, but my husband and I sat down, we had another couple at the end of the table and we still felt alone. It's great! Instead of feeling crowded like at other restaurants where you all get your own table, here you don't feel like your personal space is being invaded, which, I know sounds completely opposite, but I guess going into a situation where you know you might be elbow to elbow with a stranger is easier to deal with than going in thinking you will have a protective bubble around you at all times and then being brutally disappointed when the lady next to you starts talking about her dog's bowel movements.

Urban Belly is amazing! Order things for yourself, or order things to share. The portions are huge and worth every penny.

Scale from 1-10: 7.08 (GREAT place! Maybe not for everyone, but most)
Price: $$ (with two entrees and an appetizer it's about $35.00)
Date: YES! Maybe not a first date but a 4th or 5th
BYOB: Indeed
Specials: Yes
Carry-out/Delivery: Yes/No

No comments: