Saturday, November 22, 2014

Belly Dance

Urban Belly gets a hip new home in the West Loop

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Mom used to warm you up with hot bowls of chicken soup. A few modest noodles, a clear simple broth.

But then you found ramen. Mom wondered why you stopped eating the ol' family recipe. You knew why. Ramen had all that pork. Those noodles. The spice and weird-awesome spoon!

But then Urban Belly disappeared from Avondale, leaving you helpless, soupless. You were just about to cave and settle for second best.

Well, settle no more. Urban Belly's back, with a walk-up counter, open kitchen, counter seats overlooking the street, and the kicker: a living wall.

Yes, a living wall of plants will watch you slurp down that bowl of noodles and suck on spiced edamame. No worries, the living wall doesn’t judge.
 
Society will judge you though, if you enter the communal seating dining room without a bowl of ramen. There are six types of noodles on the menu, from the namesake with braised pork belly to soba served with buckwheat noodles in basil broth.

If you must go anti-noodle, feed your inner cool kid with phat rice a crazy good combination of rice with pork belly, ground chicken, and Wagyu beef short ribs then exit with maple-glazed mini-doughnuts.
 
Split a bomber of Japanese beer or sip on wine by the glass. Then again, the house sake is Funaguchi and on Sundays the spot returns to its BYO roots.  
 
Which requires a whole different kind of slurping.

Urban Belly urbanbellychicago.com
1400 W. Randolph St. (at N. Ogden St.), West Loop
(773) 583-0500
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Price: 2 (out of 4)
Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Subway: Green Line to Ashland-Lake
Scene: Diners ready to get their slurp on in a casual setting
Best bets: Urbanbelly ramen; kimchi stew; Wagyu beef dumplings
Nearby: City Winery; Cobra Lounge; Bottom Lounge

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