13 September 2012

Dinner and Karaoke at BellyQ

In the last two weeks, I have had the extreme pleasure of dining at BellyQ twice! BellyQ is chef Bill Kim's latest creation, a new take on the Korean barbecue joint, and as always he's doing things with a twist. After taking over the former 160 Blue location, Kim and his crew completely gutted and revamped the space, adding in a beautiful wall of south-facing windows, a gorgeous bar, a walk-up dining area, and a karaoke den. Yes, my prayers have been answered, now I can eat the cuisine of my favorite local chef AND sing my heart out all in one location.

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.
  BellyQ Bar1 BellyQ Bar2 Thai Fried Chicken Seafood Pancake Grill Top grilling meat Full Plate pork buns pork bun 2 Fro Yo

When I returned the following week - Moriah mentioned to the GM that we were very interested in doing karaoke in the den. And lo and behold, he heard her (Mo is very convincing). After we finished up yet another amazing meal, we were whisked away to the lounge for an hour of uninteruppted singing. And heads up, the book does have "Call Me Maybe".

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