Belly Shack—Best New Restaurants
Belly Shack’s togarashi fries and Belly Dog with kimchi salsa and egg noodles
1912 North Western Avenue; 773-252-1414
KOREAN/PUERTO RICAN [¢]
Say what you will about the dark, metallic space or the impersonal counter service—there’s no denying Belly Shack’s relentless creativity. Take the lemongrass-tinged meatball sandwich with rice noodles and mint on a pita: It’s a big, crazy mess that looks like an admiral’s hat and may well be the most irresistible sandwich in Chicago. Few people other than Urbanbelly’s Bill Kim and Yvonne Cadiz-Kim could pull it off. The husband-wife team drew from their heritages (Korean and Puerto Rican) to create a one-of-a-kind menu that jumps from tostones and boricua to kimchi and kogi without once falling into the wide chasm between the two cuisines. Neat trick for a low-budget BYO whose menu rarely goes above $10.
TIP: Cross your fingers that the togarashi fries with curry mayo are a special.
PLUS: Read the review »
PRICE KEY: ¢ $10 to $19 $ $20 to $29 $$ $30 to $39 $$$ $40 to $49 $$$$ $50-plus
[Cost per person for dinner, excluding wine, tax, or tip]
Photograph: Anna Knott