Chef Bill Kim’s original vision, Urban Belly (3053 N. California Ave.), is a small noodle shop with communal seating that quietly rests in a strip mall in Logan Square. They pride themselves on crafting delicious “reinvented” noodles and dumplings for lunch and dinner.
We started with an order of seasonal kimchee – today they had gorgeous local zucchini. Zesty, well seasoned, super fresh and a great way to get the senses in gear, we couldn’t insist more that you begin your meal with this side item.
The Urban Belly Ramen contains a dark rich pho broth. Their pho twist is more soy driven than the tonkotsu style I’ve sampled that is more of the traditional variety. Darker in flavor profile with smoky pork, mushroom and some serious clove and cinnamon baking spice notes. A complex and layered brother that is completely different from anything we’d sampled in past.
The ingredients were cooked well and seasoned nicely. The noodles were tender and not overcooked. Vegetables were plentiful and there was a nice dose of heat you don’t often see in ramen. They don’t claim any of their noodles as the most authentic, they are a fusion shop that performs that craft with care, time and precision.
The dumplings are Urban Belly are fantastic though we didn’t order any on this trip. Though the menu is limited, not unlike their sister restaurant Belly Shack, each and every item is flavorful, texturally spot on and well worth the price. Make the trip. I know Jill was happy we did…
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!