Sunday, December 16, 2012

Urban Belly

I have gone before to Belly Shack, an Asian/Latin Fusion street food restaurant in my neighborhood and have met Bill Kim, the chef, at any number of events around town, but until recently, I have never been to it's sister restaurant, Urban Belly which is also relatively close.  The restaurant is located in a small space in a strip mall close to the Kennedy.  The entrance has a silhouette of a Buddha and the interior is wood.  There are four communal tables made from finished drift wood which seat about 10 people apiece.  The seats for the tables are solid wooden blocks.  Food and drink is ordered from a counter at the back of the restaurant.  The menu is divided into dumplings, rices, noodles, and sides.  The restaurant is also BYOB.  When I go to an Asian restaurant, rice tends to be on the menu so I decided to be a little different and try everything else.  I started with the Kimchi side.  It had cabbage, as might be expected but had other vegetables like cucumbers, and I think carrots and celery.  The sauce was very red and spicy and was covered with sesame seeds.  It was crisp, crunch, sweet, spicy, and a very nice start.

The dumplings were the next dish and it was a very nicely presented dish.  It was served on a narrow and oblong dish with some mango sauce on the bottom of the dish.  The dumplings were similar to triangular ravioli and were filled with ground pork belly.  The dumplings were separated with fresh mango slices and everything was topped with threads of Asian squash and green onion.  It was sweet, tart, and obviously a bit bacony and had a nice texture.  This dish made me really happy and made me glad that I had come here.

For my noodle dish, I ordered a dish similar to pho.  It was a big dish of broth with long vermicelli rice noodles, small rice dumplings, pork belly, celery, hominy, and kim chi in a very spicy pork broth.  The soup was hearty with good size chunks of everything in every spoonful and the broth was hot and spicy.  I really liked this as well and after this, even if there had been dessert, I would have been to full to eat it.

I really liked Urban Belly and will definitely be back.  The food is very good and well priced, the space is nice, if a bit simple, and the staff was very friendly.        

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