If you're not familiar with Bill Kim's work, my sincerest apologies - but, if you happen to live in Chicago, you are in luck! This is chef Kim's third restaurant, after Urban Belly on California and Belly Shack on Western. I'm a self-proclaimed fangirl of Bill Kim's restaurants, and the opening of BellyQ was something I've been anticipating since news leaked of his plans!
Two weeks ago, after visiting one of the closing nights of Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, I headed over with my dad and his friend for a late night dinner the first week BellyQ was open. We started in the bar with cocktails, and happened to snag a spot at the communal table, where we ordered the Thai fried chicken, the seafood pancake, and Kim's delicious house kimchi. The hostesses and waitstaff were incredibly friendly and accommodating, constantly checking that everything was going well with us. Thanks, we really appreciated it!
We requested a grill-top table, and started with wine, which came to us from a tap. Apparently wine on-tap is a new trend that is happening in Chicago, and I totally dig it. We started with an order of this amazing salad with avocado, rice crisps, and a yuzu sauce. We ordered a Chinese style tea smoked duck, and while we waited we grilled our own BellyQ beef (Kim's mother's recipe). Everything came out in a really well-choreographed manner, at exactly the right time. The flavors of each dish complimented one another, and grilling our own food was fun! I mean really fun. We also ordered just the right amount of food, and everything was made for sharing. I felt as though we truly worked our way through the menu, and I even managed to save room for dessert. Though I was skeptical of a dessert menu that was completely soft-serve based, I couldn't stop cooing over the huckleberry ice cream dish.
Seriously, this place is top notch.