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UrbanBelly - get your dumpling on!

UrbanBelly - get your dumpling on!
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  • Post #121 - December 11th, 2009, 8:00 am
    Post #121 - December 11th, 2009, 8:00 am Post #121 - December 11th, 2009, 8:00 am
    For me, Urban Belly is the kind of place that I enjoy if I put myself in the right frame of mind. That means:

    *Either order carry out, or go on the early side. I hate standing and waiting for a table.

    *Don't over order or don't complain about the cost. My wife and I have found that one rice dish, one dumpling dish, and one noodle dish will easily satisfy us. This comes to under $30 for both, which is a fairly low-cost meal out for high quality food. Many times, though, we give in to the temptation to try four or five dishes. That's when we start thinking that the meal was pretty expensive.

    *Although I'm not particularly familiar with Korean cuisine, I resist the temptation to compare the price of Urban Belly to those at a more traditional restaurant. To me they are aiming for different targets and I can appreciate both.

    As long as I keep these things in mind, I'm really happy with my experiences.
  • Post #122 - December 13th, 2009, 3:48 pm
    Post #122 - December 13th, 2009, 3:48 pm Post #122 - December 13th, 2009, 3:48 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    djenks wrote:interesting first post

    I believe Redhanded is talking about Dragonlady Lounge,
    Thanks! That's right. I noticed that she recently put out a sign, but when I went there, there was no sign and all I knew is that it was called "Dragon Lady." I guess its dive cred decreases a bit now that you can easily actually find it ;-)

    I should just add that I will go back to Urban Belly for noodles. The udon dish with shrimp was really excellent. I have been soooo disappointed with the dumplings, though. I've tried a few different kinds, and I find them overly small for the price and overly greasy.
  • Post #123 - December 23rd, 2009, 11:47 am
    Post #123 - December 23rd, 2009, 11:47 am Post #123 - December 23rd, 2009, 11:47 am
    Had a delicious meal at Urbanbelly last week (Ramen, Udon, pork dumplings, eggplant) and wanted to let everyone know that we were instructed to wait inside (in the hallway leading to the bathroom) rather than in the vestibule. So we were nice and toasty. There was an incredibly annoying party ahead of us - it took them 15 minutes to order at the counter!. Chef Kim ended up comping us some succulent short ribs for our patience, which we really didn't have much of by the time we were able to order. It actually made the wait worth it!
  • Post #124 - December 23rd, 2009, 1:18 pm
    Post #124 - December 23rd, 2009, 1:18 pm Post #124 - December 23rd, 2009, 1:18 pm
    bon2mic wrote:There was an incredibly annoying party ahead of us - it took them 15 minutes to order at the counter!. Chef Kim ended up comping us some succulent short ribs for our patience, which we really didn't have much of by the time we were able to order. It actually made the wait worth it!
    That is a nice gesture when they notice stuff like that. We were at Smoque last month, and this woman was in line ahead of us. Just as she approached the register, her remaining party of 6 arrived, so they all cut in front of us! I was pretty annoyed especially since they were too preoccupied to greet each other with hugs and kisses and took awhile to order.
  • Post #125 - January 2nd, 2010, 5:30 pm
    Post #125 - January 2nd, 2010, 5:30 pm Post #125 - January 2nd, 2010, 5:30 pm
    I finally got around to trying this place today, with husband in tow. I have to say, I don't really understand the love it gets. I was really, really disappointed, particularly given the price point. I'd have been underwhelmed at any price, however. We ordered the duck dumplings, the pork dumplings, the kimchi, the short ribs, and the Chinese egg noodles with eggplant and tofu.

    To start with the best, I'd say the short ribs were decent. Nicely charred, and the contrast with the citrusy rice was interesting. That citrusy flavor quickly overpowered the rest of the flavors in the dish, however. I'd have preferred to be able to taste and appreciate the vegetables and egg that were in there.

    Next, the kimchi was inoffensive. That's about all I can say for it. We're both huge kimchi fans, the funkier and spicier, the better. This was pretty bland, no heat and no funk. It tasted like cold, wet cabbage to me.

    The pork dumplings were overwhelmed by the lemongrass in the filling. It was all we could taste. I like lemongrass, but as an accent, not as the main flavor.

    The duck dumplings: I expected to love them. I like duck, I like pho, I like dumplings, people rave about them--should have been a winner. Instead, though, they were heavy and greasy feeling. Granted, duck itself is pretty heavy and greasy. But I'll be honest--I had a better, cleaner-tasting duck potsticker at the Berghoff, of all places, a couple weeks ago.

    Finally, the nail in the coffin, the Chinese egg noodles. They were one of the worst restaurant dishes I've had in a long time. With my first bite, I thought the broth tasted exactly like K.C. Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce. Every bite confirmed my initial impression, and when I told my husband what I was thinking, he said I'd put my finger on the familiar flavor that had been bugging him. The broth is too sweet and has an odd, seemingly artificial smokiness to it. I couldn't even enjoy any of the contents of the soup because the broth was so bad.

    I wanted to like this place, but I just couldn't find anything to like. The only passable dish was the short ribs, and I'd get a much better version at a Korean BBQ joint, along with much better kimchi. For dumplings and noodle soups, I'll stick to Katy's. Even if I have to rent a Zipcar to get out there, it ends up being more economical, and much tastier.
  • Post #126 - January 4th, 2010, 9:48 am
    Post #126 - January 4th, 2010, 9:48 am Post #126 - January 4th, 2010, 9:48 am
    GardenofEatin wrote: have to say, I don't really understand the love ... We ordered the duck dumplings, the pork dumplings, the kimchi, the short ribs, and the Chinese egg noodles with eggplant and tofu.


    For me, the love comes from the broths in the soups at Urbanbelly, not from any of the items you ordered. The udon, ramen and other soups at UrbanBelly contain huge portions of rich, complex stock that are worth twice the price they charge, imo.
    ...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 #127 - January 4th, 2010, 10:13 am
    Post #127 - January 4th, 2010, 10:13 am Post #127 - January 4th, 2010, 10:13 am
    Forget the dumplings, incredibly overrated, including in this thread.

    Soup is the star at both Belly joints.
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  • Post #128 - January 4th, 2010, 12:19 pm
    Post #128 - January 4th, 2010, 12:19 pm Post #128 - January 4th, 2010, 12:19 pm
    Kennyz wrote:For me, the love comes from the broths in the soups at Urbanbelly, not from any of the items you ordered. The udon, ramen and other soups at UrbanBelly contain huge portions of rich, complex stock that are worth twice the price they charge, imo.


    Well, it seems as if we must not have ordered the right soup, since the one we had was pretty awful. I doubt we'll head back to see if we like the others any better, though, given the mediocrity of the rest of our meal.
  • Post #129 - January 4th, 2010, 12:26 pm
    Post #129 - January 4th, 2010, 12:26 pm Post #129 - January 4th, 2010, 12:26 pm
    GardenofEatin wrote:
    Kennyz wrote:For me, the love comes from the broths in the soups at Urbanbelly, not from any of the items you ordered. The udon, ramen and other soups at UrbanBelly contain huge portions of rich, complex stock that are worth twice the price they charge, imo.


    Well, it seems as if we must not have ordered the right soup, since the one we had was pretty awful.....


    which one was that? Don't see any reference to a soup in the otherwise-detailed rundown of your meal.
    ...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 #130 - January 4th, 2010, 12:43 pm
    Post #130 - January 4th, 2010, 12:43 pm Post #130 - January 4th, 2010, 12:43 pm
    We went last week. We had the duck dumplings-I could have eaten three orders! The lamb dumplings were ok. Had two soups-the udon with shrimp and the porkbelly with soba noodles. Both were really good. The nights special was eggplant-I am not a fan of the veggie but this was very good. Staff were great and the atmoshpere lively despite the cold temps and being midweek. Our wait was minimal but parking is tough IF you honor the laundrymat's parking space markings which we did. Loved the ginger candy at the end. Anyone know where I can get more?
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #131 - January 4th, 2010, 12:51 pm
    Post #131 - January 4th, 2010, 12:51 pm Post #131 - January 4th, 2010, 12:51 pm
    which one was that?


    The KC Masterpiece broth for the noodles, I assume.

    I can see this, they do overplay the sweet note sometimes. But the main soup on the menu at Belly Shack, and a pozole I had about a year ago at Urban Belly, were maybe the two best soups I've had in a restaurant in the last few years.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #132 - January 4th, 2010, 12:52 pm
    Post #132 - January 4th, 2010, 12:52 pm Post #132 - January 4th, 2010, 12:52 pm
    I just happened to pick up some of this ginger candy at a store in the little outdoor mall in Chinatown -- the same mall that houses Lao Sze Chuan). I don't remember the name of the shop, but they have a lot of teas, ginseng, and various other dried things sold by the pound. Perhaps someone more familiar with Chinatown can help me out.
  • Post #133 - January 4th, 2010, 12:56 pm
    Post #133 - January 4th, 2010, 12:56 pm Post #133 - January 4th, 2010, 12:56 pm
    Mike G wrote:
    which one was that?


    The KC Masterpiece broth for the noodles, I assume.


    That Chinese egg noodle dish (which I agree is a little too sweet) is - unless it has changed dramatically - a stir fry, not a soup. Maybe there's some reduced stock in it.
    ...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 #134 - January 4th, 2010, 10:13 pm
    Post #134 - January 4th, 2010, 10:13 pm Post #134 - January 4th, 2010, 10:13 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    Mike G wrote:
    which one was that?


    The KC Masterpiece broth for the noodles, I assume.


    That Chinese egg noodle dish (which I agree is a little too sweet) is - unless it has changed dramatically - a stir fry, not a soup. Maybe there's some reduced stock in it.


    It was a soup on Saturday. We actually expected it to be a stir fry, since it wasn't clear from the menu that it was a soup, but it definitely came to us in soup form. Maybe that contributed to the flavors being out of whack, if that's not the way it's normally served.

    ETA: Just looked at the menu description again, and I suppose it could be read to mean that the noodles are stir fried and the rest of it constitutes the soup; the noodles definitely had been fried before going into the soup.
  • Post #135 - January 12th, 2010, 12:58 pm
    Post #135 - January 12th, 2010, 12:58 pm Post #135 - January 12th, 2010, 12:58 pm
    Working on a Great One-Two Punch for date night this was our dinner choice for the evening.

    After our first stop at Weegee's Lounge for a few adult beverages this was the recommendation from Alex, the owner there.

    Fun! We arrived about 7:00 pm and the place was about half full. One of the waitress' seeing us standing near the door quickly approached and outlined the dining procedure.

    We made our way to counter, placed our order and was promptly seated.

    Beautifully decorated and the communal tables made it fun! We were chatting, watching the other diners and soon one of our dishes was brought out to us. We were a bit hesitant to dig in without the other dishes being served and the rest of our meal was brought out as soon as it was prepared in a short time. A good vibe from the crowd without being too noisy.

    My Bride wasn't too hungry and went with the Chicken Dumplings with Mushrooms...

    Image

    Pretty good. After discovering Katy's Dumplings it has been hard to find a place that can match. The table dumpling sauce accented the dumplings well.

    I had the daily special of Pork with Udon Noodles and a side of Wrinkle Beans.

    Image

    Wow! The noodles were a match for Katy's and the flavorings for both the soup and the wrinkle beans were rich and savory and had me moaning in delight with every bite. A sprinkle of the table chili sauce accented the dishes just right.

    The place had a few diners when we arrived but quickly filled as the evening wore on.

    All in all a great dinner! Just writing about the place get my mouth salivating again. :)
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #136 - January 28th, 2010, 4:07 pm
    Post #136 - January 28th, 2010, 4:07 pm Post #136 - January 28th, 2010, 4:07 pm
    Stopped in today for a late lunch and was quite pleased to find my favorite dish of 2009 back on the special menu, Asian Bolognese!
    Tender shredded pork bits in a spicy broth over Udon Noodles, mixed with Chinese black beans, and Tasso Ham.
    Delish!!
  • Post #137 - October 12th, 2010, 9:44 am
    Post #137 - October 12th, 2010, 9:44 am Post #137 - October 12th, 2010, 9:44 am
    Urban Belly has a delicious new special. It consists of Coconut Broth with Rice Noodle, Shrimp and Scallops. I tend to bike here on the weekends when Takashi is too busy during their Sunday Noodle Lunch. I was sad to see their Kogi Beef Ramen leave the specials list but this dish makes up for it. Light and refreshing.

    Image
  • Post #138 - September 15th, 2011, 6:35 am
    Post #138 - September 15th, 2011, 6:35 am Post #138 - September 15th, 2011, 6:35 am
    Looks like it's been a long time since the last post so I figured I'd wake up the thread. Last night I had the udon with shrimp, coriander and sweet chili lime broth. I'll admit that this tends to be a bit of a standard order for me, but the toothsome noodles, nicely cooked shrimp and delicious and balanced broth keep me coming back for more. And when I'm searching for a great bowl of noodles on the north side and don't want the hectic pace of Tank, it's usually Sunshine or Urban Belly. Service is friendly and efficient at both places but last night UB won out. I'm glad to see Urban Belly is still on top of its game.
  • Post #139 - October 10th, 2013, 2:57 pm
    Post #139 - October 10th, 2013, 2:57 pm Post #139 - October 10th, 2013, 2:57 pm
    According to this report in the Tribune Urban Belly is moving to Randolph Street and will operate out of Belly Q.
  • Post #140 - October 10th, 2013, 3:35 pm
    Post #140 - October 10th, 2013, 3:35 pm Post #140 - October 10th, 2013, 3:35 pm
    Darn, I liked their old location. I guess not enough other people agreed
  • Post #141 - October 10th, 2013, 4:09 pm
    Post #141 - October 10th, 2013, 4:09 pm Post #141 - October 10th, 2013, 4:09 pm
    AlexG wrote:According to this report in the Tribune Urban Belly is moving to Randolph Street and will operate out of Belly Q.


    In other words, going out of business.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #142 - October 10th, 2013, 4:40 pm
    Post #142 - October 10th, 2013, 4:40 pm Post #142 - October 10th, 2013, 4:40 pm
    bnl wrote:Darn, I liked their old location. I guess not enough other people agreed


    unfortunately Avondale was a very convenient location for me on lazy nights when I wanted something cheap and easy. Randolph is very much destination dining and this doesn't fit that bill for me. sucks.
  • Post #143 - October 10th, 2013, 8:26 pm
    Post #143 - October 10th, 2013, 8:26 pm Post #143 - October 10th, 2013, 8:26 pm
    That's surprising since it seemed like Urban Belly was doing well. Of course it wasn't the easiest place for the carless people like me to go to. I only went there when I had a boyfriend who had a car. I'm excited more ramen is coming to the West Loop.
  • Post #144 - October 10th, 2013, 9:44 pm
    Post #144 - October 10th, 2013, 9:44 pm Post #144 - October 10th, 2013, 9:44 pm
    AlexG wrote:According to this report in the Tribune Urban Belly is moving to Randolph Street and will operate out of Belly Q.

    Well, crud. I live only a few blocks away. It was nice for the neighborhood to have a "destination" restaurant like Urban Belly (well, I guess we still have some). With Wasabi moving south too, I'll need a new walking-distance noodle place!
  • Post #145 - October 11th, 2013, 6:29 am
    Post #145 - October 11th, 2013, 6:29 am Post #145 - October 11th, 2013, 6:29 am
    I wonder if this is more a statement about Belly Q. Every time I've been to Urban Belly, it's been packed or close to it. But the space is very small and the parking lot awful, so maybe this will give them more opportunities . . . and a better chance of getting people into Belly Q (no idea how they've been doing). But personally, Urban Belly is rather convenient to me now so I'm not a big fan of the move.
  • Post #146 - October 25th, 2013, 2:32 pm
    Post #146 - October 25th, 2013, 2:32 pm Post #146 - October 25th, 2013, 2:32 pm
    We were at BellyQ earlier this week and they said they've shut down the takeout side of the room and that's where BellyShack will be. So it might be a simple matter of needing a more casual price point to occupy existing space versus paying the rent in another location. Said it should be open in a week or two.
  • Post #147 - October 28th, 2013, 2:51 pm
    Post #147 - October 28th, 2013, 2:51 pm Post #147 - October 28th, 2013, 2:51 pm
    They're closed. :(
  • Post #148 - September 3rd, 2014, 4:03 pm
    Post #148 - September 3rd, 2014, 4:03 pm Post #148 - September 3rd, 2014, 4:03 pm
    Has anyone been to the new location ? Food still the same? Is it still casual / BYOB , or did they up the ante ? It's kind of far for me now from the north side so I haven't been, is it worth the trip ?
  • Post #149 - September 4th, 2014, 10:33 am
    Post #149 - September 4th, 2014, 10:33 am Post #149 - September 4th, 2014, 10:33 am
    bnl wrote:Has anyone been to the new location ? Food still the same? Is it still casual / BYOB , or did they up the ante ? It's kind of far for me now from the north side so I haven't been, is it worth the trip ?

    Went a couple of times this summer. I think the food's the same -- we had a couple of rice dishes (too hot for soup) and while not the most exciting flavors, it sure hit the spot after a long Pitchfork. It's still casual: order at the counter, then your food is brought out to you in the eating area (if you order the soft serve, by Bill Kim himself). Prices are about the same as before -- slightly too high, but the portions are quite large. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to eat there, but like I said, it was the right thing at the right time.
  • Post #150 - October 12th, 2018, 11:16 am
    Post #150 - October 12th, 2018, 11:16 am Post #150 - October 12th, 2018, 11:16 am
    We had UrbanBelly via Caviar last night after Caviar featured their Thai Fried Chicken.

    We ordered a half order of that along with 12 dumplings (the Pork/Cilantro and the Chicken Curry). We inhaled the dumplings like wild animals in a frenzy of goodness. The Fried Chicken, which began the decision to order, we found disappointing. It was overcooked and dry. However, the "half order" was enough for the two of us along with the dumplings and there was enough left over for sandwiches. I just consumed one of them at work and the Fried Chicken on a bun with mayo was better that when it was hot.

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