Updated Reviews: Belly Shack and Tub Tim Thai Hold Their Ground at One Star

We liked the Korean barbecue beef, hot and sour soup, and togarashi fries at Belly Shack.

 


Soft serve at Belly Shack

Belly Shack (1912 N. Western Ave., 773-252-1414). Asian-Latin.
★(good)
¢ ($10–$19 per person for a meal, without tax, tip, or alcohol)

Bill Kim’s fast-casual ode to Korean street food—by way of Puerto Rico—still offers great quality for little money. A mellow neighborhood crowd seems partial to heaps of Korean barbecue beef served with doughy flatbread; filling veggie options, such as a quinoa ssam salad fashioned into a wrap; and great sides, such as crisp togarashi fries with curry mayo. Special drinks include yuzu lemonade, and a finisher of soft-serve cinnamon caramel ice cream is a pure crowd pleaser. One taste of Belly Shack’s superfermented kimchi and you know the kitchen is not watering things down.

Dishes We Liked: Korean barbecue beef with kimchi, ssam paste, and scallions ($9); organic brown rice with Chinese broccoli, mushrooms, kimchi, and tofu (9); hot and sour soup with hominy, chicken, and cilantro ($4); togarashi fries ($3); Vietnamese cinnamon caramel soft serve ($4)

 

Tub Tim Thai (4927 Oakton St., Skokie, 847-675-8424). Thai.
★(good)
¢ ($10–$19 per person for a meal, without tax, tip, or alcohol)

There’s nothing particularly inviting about the dated peach-hued decor or a waitstaff that’s in a bit too much of a hurry, but the heaping plates of richly flavored Thai favorites that come steaming out of the kitchen are priced to satisfy even the tightest of budgets. Familiar offerings—including a buttery pad thai and fragrant mounds of shrimp fried rice—exceed expectations. Save room for unique options like giant garlic prawns with crispy fried basil leaves and stir-fried cellophane pad woon sen noodles. Try a deep-fried banana with coconut ice cream to finish.

Dishes We Liked: Thai calamari with sweet chili sauce ($7), stir-fried pad woon sen noodles ($9), charbroiled garlic prawns in lime sauce ($15), shrimp fried rice ($10), fried banana with ice cream ($5)

 

New restaurant reviews, updated to reflect critics’ recent visits, appear each month in Chicago magazine, in Dine, as well as on our website. Listed restaurants are rated from one to four stars, where one is good, two is very good, three is excellent, and four is superlative. Belly Shack and Tub Tim Thai maintained their one-star ratings in the March issue, on newsstands now.
 

Photograph: Courtesy of Belly Shack

 

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