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Belly Shack Opening

Belly Shack Opening
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  • Belly Shack Opening

    Post #1 - October 19th, 2009, 10:22 am
    Post #1 - October 19th, 2009, 10:22 am Post #1 - October 19th, 2009, 10:22 am
    It looks like the Belly Shack under the Western Blue Line station will be opening tomorrow.

    This morning the front door displayed the following sign:

    "Officially open to the public Tuesday, October 20th between 12 pm - 10 pm"

    Sorry for the lack of pictures; hopefully this isn't olde news. Belly Shack should be a nice addition to the neighborhood.

    CB
  • Post #2 - October 19th, 2009, 11:44 am
    Post #2 - October 19th, 2009, 11:44 am Post #2 - October 19th, 2009, 11:44 am
    Belly Shack
    1912 N. Western Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60647
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #3 - October 20th, 2009, 6:48 am
    Post #3 - October 20th, 2009, 6:48 am Post #3 - October 20th, 2009, 6:48 am
    Planning on swinging by tonight after work, as it is on my route. I'm a huge Urban Belly fan, so I'm hoping that there's enough magic for both places.
  • Post #4 - October 20th, 2009, 8:18 am
    Post #4 - October 20th, 2009, 8:18 am Post #4 - October 20th, 2009, 8:18 am
    We picked up takeout from Urban Belly the other night, and Chef Bill confirmed opening would be Tuesday...

    Planning to check out Belly Shack for a late lunch today... will report back if we make it.
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
  • Post #5 - October 20th, 2009, 1:51 pm
    Post #5 - October 20th, 2009, 1:51 pm Post #5 - October 20th, 2009, 1:51 pm
    We just got back from Belly Shack and in a word: YUM. Bold favors, nice people, cool vibe... and they're running like it's well past their first day. (Probably didn't hurt that Bill Kim was expediting!)

    Here's what we tried:
    Image
    Super tender Korean BBQ Kogi with a bit of fresh kimchi and sliced triangles of bread that reminded us of very good pita

    Image
    Asian Meatball "sammich" with vermicelli noodles and mint. Lots of lemongrass and herbal notes, great bread

    Image
    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with plenty of spicy chorizo - totally surprising how much we loved this dish

    Dessert was the softserve (the only dessert they serve, but in fantastic flavors) - we tried the Vietnamese cinnamon and salted caramel. Best salted caramel ever! Sorry, didn't remember to take a photo until it was half eaten.

    Much like at Urban Belly, it's serve yourself water and silverware, take a number to your table and wait for a lovely person to deliver your food as it's ready. I also got an Izzy peach soda, and they have a couple of green teas available by can. Doesn't look like they are preparing beverages of any kind.

    Incidentally, Steve Dolinsky was at Belly Shack at the same time as we were, and it looks like he ate the same things we did (and more!), if his Twitter posts are an indication. The difference between us is that I didn't get a tour of the kitchen at the end of the meal, as he did. :)

    As I posted on Twitter while we were there, my hubby overheard that in two hours, they had served 55 diners and 11 huge takeout orders. They didn't seem rushed, though the kitchen was buzzing. At times there was a small line, maybe as many as 7 people deep, but many times no line at all.

    HIGHLY recommended. Don't be afraid to check it out right away!
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
  • Post #6 - October 20th, 2009, 4:18 pm
    Post #6 - October 20th, 2009, 4:18 pm Post #6 - October 20th, 2009, 4:18 pm
    I, too, visited for a late lunch, probably when Susan was there. That Steve guy was doing some kind of recording in the kitchen. Place wasn't super crowded, but the line grew to several people long at one point during my visit. Prices are kind of high. Service was generally friendly.

    Menu
    Image

    BBQ Kogi
    Image

    I'm not of the opinion that the BBQ Kogi is a $10 plate of food. It's also definitely not a sandwich. It's a mound of beef, some kimchi, and some pita wedges. The beef also lacked any discernible char. I missed out on this. In general I found all the food skewing toward the sweet. Where's the heat, the garlic bite, the faint bitterness of char and sesame oil. Kind of one-dimensional to me. Kimchi was solid. And, not to beat a dead horse, but WTF are those pita wedges. If you're going to do a ssam give me lettuce or what Chang tried with a tortilla-type thing. I would've rather had rice personally.

    Boricua
    Image

    The boricua was more successful for me. Kind of a mess to eat, but I appreciated the variety of textures. I don't eat much meat during the week, so this was the sandwich that struck me at first. The kogi was ordered as a benchmark. The plantains were nicely fried, and gave the whole sandwich a bit more body than rice, beans, and tofu would have contributed. I still thought this sandwich could've used a bit hit of heat. There's no hot sauce or anything, so without bothering the kitchen chile lovers are out of luck.

    The brussels with chorizo looked good. Also the soft serve is a bit expensive at $4, but the portion looked large enough for two to share. Tilapia seems an uninspired fish choice. Just saying, haven't had the sandwich yet.

    I liked the place fine, and it's pretty close to me that I'll surely come back. Still, I think the quality of the offerings at Xoco are superior.
    Last edited by BryanZ on October 21st, 2009, 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #7 - October 20th, 2009, 6:38 pm
    Post #7 - October 20th, 2009, 6:38 pm Post #7 - October 20th, 2009, 6:38 pm
    So I made it to Belly Shack as well around 5:30 tonight. Probably about eight others in there, and no line.
    Got the meatballs with a side of kimchi, and my associate got the koji beef.
    The meatball sandwich is an embarrasingly larger portion than the beef "plate". Tried both, and I have to agree that neither had enough acid nor spice. Both were cooked rather nicely, though. Pitas were fresh and fluffy. Kimchi, against all odds, was the highlight, but the $4 price tag was perhaps a tad dear.
    I'll probably stop by the Shack again, but I far prefer Urban Belly.
  • Post #8 - October 21st, 2009, 2:28 pm
    Post #8 - October 21st, 2009, 2:28 pm Post #8 - October 21st, 2009, 2:28 pm
    also made it for dinner last night, as the second to last patrons (and last to eat in) we closed down the place.

    ordered the korean beef (meatballs were sold out), the boricua, brussels sprouts, tostones (squash was sold out), and soft serve w/bacon chocolate chip for dessert. also we noticed as we pulled up that a few tables had bottles of wine so we dashed over to the (verrrry sketchy) liquor store just north of the el for some beer. I found the korean beef to be tasty but I agree, nothing at all special, the bread was kind of an odd addition, and the kimchi was the best part. I really loved the boricua - as someone who likes but doesn't love tofu, I really enjoyed how it was prepared and thought the combination of flavors was bold and innovative without being unnecessarily complicated. the b-sprouts w/chorizo rocked my world in terms of flavor and texture. tostones were standard but well-prepared with good texture, and the chimichurri sauce was a nice added flavor. soft serve was yummy but I was expecting the topping to be choc chip cookies infused with bacon, whereas I think I got chocolate chip cookies + bacon bits. still very tasty.

    last note - chef Bill came out and chatted with us for a while at the end of our meal, he seemed so genuinely pleased that we enjoyed it, and grateful that people from the neighborhood came out on the first day to support his new venture. it really made the experience.
  • Post #9 - October 21st, 2009, 3:30 pm
    Post #9 - October 21st, 2009, 3:30 pm Post #9 - October 21st, 2009, 3:30 pm
    In the mood for a kimchee hot dog and yucca fries, I scurried over to Belly Shack yesterday. No dogs, no yucca, no problem.

    Image

    Image

    I settled on a meatball-noodle sandwich, tostones with chimichurri and cabbage-fennel kimchee. Like Urban Belly, this is a house of Big Flavors. I liked each of the items individually (the tostones were particularly well prepared) but considered together as a meal it was completely discordant. I have nobody other than myself to blame for ordering (I simply chose the dishes that sounded most interesting to me). It was a battle of minty noodles and sweet-sauced meatballs clashing with garlicky chimichurri and anise-tinged kimchee. Order wisely.

    Belly Shack
    1912 N Western Av
    Chicago
    773-252-1414
    http://www.bellyshack.com/
  • Post #10 - October 21st, 2009, 3:33 pm
    Post #10 - October 21st, 2009, 3:33 pm Post #10 - October 21st, 2009, 3:33 pm
    Maybe I'm just dense or ignorant, but what kind of food is this supposed to be?
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #11 - October 21st, 2009, 3:35 pm
    Post #11 - October 21st, 2009, 3:35 pm Post #11 - October 21st, 2009, 3:35 pm
    jesteinf wrote:Maybe I'm just dense or ignorant, but what kind of food is this supposed to be?


    No, you're not dense or ignorant or if you are, I am too. I was wondering the same thing.
  • Post #12 - October 21st, 2009, 3:37 pm
    Post #12 - October 21st, 2009, 3:37 pm Post #12 - October 21st, 2009, 3:37 pm
    Argebanasiacan
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #13 - October 21st, 2009, 3:43 pm
    Post #13 - October 21st, 2009, 3:43 pm Post #13 - October 21st, 2009, 3:43 pm
    Kennyz wrote:Argebanasiacan


    Of course!
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #14 - October 21st, 2009, 3:53 pm
    Post #14 - October 21st, 2009, 3:53 pm Post #14 - October 21st, 2009, 3:53 pm
    I think it's supposed to be LA/NYC food. Korean! Mexican! Urban! Handoveryourwalletasshole!
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #15 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:04 am
    Post #15 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:04 am Post #15 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:04 am
    jesteinf wrote:Maybe I'm just dense or ignorant, but what kind of food is this supposed to be?


    To answer my own question, the answer is "Chino Latino" (at least according to yesterday's Dish).
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #16 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:14 am
    Post #16 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:14 am Post #16 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:14 am
    Is this that David Chang/Danny Meyer place?
  • Post #17 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:48 am
    Post #17 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:48 am Post #17 - October 22nd, 2009, 9:48 am
    Habibi wrote:I think it's supposed to be LA/NYC food. Korean! Mexican! Urban! Handoveryourwalletasshole!


    that's what I was thinking ... great. another counter service 'sandwich shop' to go for a $17 lunch. The other stupid thing I see is "seasonal kimchi". I mean, kimchi is a pickled dish that originated (like almost all other pickled dishes) because pickling preserves the cabbage so it can be served out of season. What's next ? Seasonal beef jerky ?
  • Post #18 - October 22nd, 2009, 11:07 am
    Post #18 - October 22nd, 2009, 11:07 am Post #18 - October 22nd, 2009, 11:07 am
    And it should "come with," free.
  • Post #19 - October 22nd, 2009, 4:38 pm
    Post #19 - October 22nd, 2009, 4:38 pm Post #19 - October 22nd, 2009, 4:38 pm
    grahamhh wrote:Kimchi, against all odds, was the highlight, but the $4 price tag was perhaps a tad dear

    As an aside, $6 gets you a half gallon jar of my favorite kimchee in town at New Chicago Kimchee, $10 for a full gallon.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    New Chicago Kimchee
    3648 W Lawrence Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-583-4442
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - October 22nd, 2009, 5:59 pm
    Post #20 - October 22nd, 2009, 5:59 pm Post #20 - October 22nd, 2009, 5:59 pm
    FYI, Chef Kim's $4 seasonal kimchi is not a new thing. It's been on the menu at the same price point at UrbanBellysince day one.
  • Post #21 - October 22nd, 2009, 6:47 pm
    Post #21 - October 22nd, 2009, 6:47 pm Post #21 - October 22nd, 2009, 6:47 pm
    eatchicago wrote:FYI, Chef Kim's $4 seasonal kimchi is not a new thing. It's been on the menu at the same price point at UrbanBellysince day one.


    doesn't make it any less idiotic.
  • Post #22 - October 22nd, 2009, 8:25 pm
    Post #22 - October 22nd, 2009, 8:25 pm Post #22 - October 22nd, 2009, 8:25 pm
    tem wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:FYI, Chef Kim's $4 seasonal kimchi is not a new thing. It's been on the menu at the same price point at UrbanBellysince day one.


    doesn't make it any less idiotic.


    I get it and I agree with the sentiment, but I'm not sure if idiotic is the right word. "Genius" may be better.

    You're just too smart to fall for the trick. :)
  • Post #23 - October 22nd, 2009, 10:29 pm
    Post #23 - October 22nd, 2009, 10:29 pm Post #23 - October 22nd, 2009, 10:29 pm
    I have to say that I was at Urban Belly once and was offended by the pricing and the menu. I am Korean, not uber Korean but Korean enough and it just seemed damn silly, I would find it silly if I was Ethiopian or any other ethnicity as well.

    Looking at the pictures and specifically the prices of Belly Shack also pisses me off. $4 for kim chi? Maybe genius but I find it arrogant.

    Flavor profiles don't even seem that on.

    BBQ on pita? How about a tortilla or something more relevant.

    If you're going to shack up on California or Western, don't price your food at Gold Coast levels when you can still get a $2 hot dog in both the Gold Coast and on Clarke.

    Meh
  • Post #24 - October 23rd, 2009, 7:10 am
    Post #24 - October 23rd, 2009, 7:10 am Post #24 - October 23rd, 2009, 7:10 am
    ll982 wrote:I have to say that I was at Urban Belly once and was offended by the pricing and the menu. I am Korean, not uber Korean but Korean enough . . .

    What on Urban Belly's menu "offended" you other than the pricing? Are you saying that the chef should be truer to a particular cuisine? As far as I can tell, the only definitive Korean item on the menu is the kimchi.

    As for the pricing: ok, it's certainly higher than places on Argyle. I also think the quality of the ingredients and food is excellent so I'm willing to pay a bit more. And don't forget, Urban Belly is not doing the high volume of a place like Tank Noodle so that will also cause prices to be a tad higher. But I find their broths, dumplings, noodles, etc. to be of the highest quality and I love their complex flavors.

    As for Belly Shack, the place has been open all of a few days and I have not tried it. But like every other restaurant, I'm sure they will find out what works and what does not work and make adjustments.
  • Post #25 - October 23rd, 2009, 7:11 am
    Post #25 - October 23rd, 2009, 7:11 am Post #25 - October 23rd, 2009, 7:11 am
    jesteinf wrote:To answer my own question, the answer is "Chino Latino" (at least according to yesterday's Dish).
    I wonder if Dish's writers are from the twin cities.

    -Dan
  • Post #26 - October 23rd, 2009, 8:53 am
    Post #26 - October 23rd, 2009, 8:53 am Post #26 - October 23rd, 2009, 8:53 am
    jesteinf wrote:
    jesteinf wrote:Maybe I'm just dense or ignorant, but what kind of food is this supposed to be?


    To answer my own question, the answer is "Chino Latino" (at least according to yesterday's Dish).


    It sounds suspiciously familiar to the ill conceived "Gaelic Latino" craze of the 80's (Carlos Murphy's, Jose O'Brien's and the like) and will probably eventually meet the same fate.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #27 - October 23rd, 2009, 9:04 am
    Post #27 - October 23rd, 2009, 9:04 am Post #27 - October 23rd, 2009, 9:04 am
    Maybe, although easily the best thing I've had at Urban Belly was pozole, and generally speaking I find Kim a better or at least more novel Latin cook than Asian one. On the other hand, my tooth still hurts from the masaboard he served at the Green City Market BBQ.

    Anyway, to the kimchi point, I suspect he's choosing not to pickle a lot of this stuff so heavily that it could last indefinitely, so seasonal kimchi, as oxymoronic as it may sound, does seem to suggest a certain meaning of "I'm taking stuff from the market and using it up within 8 weeks or so."
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  • Post #28 - October 27th, 2009, 2:16 pm
    Post #28 - October 27th, 2009, 2:16 pm Post #28 - October 27th, 2009, 2:16 pm
    regarding all the cuisine questions, it is my understanding that the menu/concept is supposed to reflect a joint venture between Bill Kim (who as we know is Korean) and his wife, who is Puerto Rican. not sure why people seem so irate about it (other than $4 kimchi, which I agree is pricey), I think they're pretty adorable:

    http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/res ... elly-shack
  • Post #29 - October 27th, 2009, 6:15 pm
    Post #29 - October 27th, 2009, 6:15 pm Post #29 - October 27th, 2009, 6:15 pm
    AlyOx wrote:regarding all the cuisine questions, it is my understanding that the menu/concept is supposed to reflect a joint venture between Bill Kim (who as we know is Korean) and his wife, who is Puerto Rican. not sure why people seem so irate about it (other than $4 kimchi, which I agree is pricey), I think they're pretty adorable:

    http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/res ... elly-shack


    Because the cuisine doesn't fit into someone's preconceived notion of what food should be served.

    Geez people - eat there. If you like it, go back. (I'm in a bad mood...not your fault.)
  • Post #30 - October 28th, 2009, 9:33 am
    Post #30 - October 28th, 2009, 9:33 am Post #30 - October 28th, 2009, 9:33 am
    I'm with Darren. If you like it keep going. If you can't afford it don't go. $4 for well made food, kimchi or not, is not a lot of money. If you didn't like it move on. Bill Kim is not trying to indoctrinate you, he is only trying to make a living following his bliss.

    People who slam places on price are fools. How was the total experience? Was the food good? Was the place clean? What equation do you use to formulate value? Good food+good atmosphere+uniqueness=good time.

    I am sorry but maybe you do not like jazz and should stick to more regimented styles.

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