Early Bird

Reasons to revisit BellyShack and UrbanBelly

Bill Kim's newest venture, the Asian-barbecue-inspired BellyQ, is slated to open in late July.

But you can have an early taste at the chef's two other restaurants, Belly Shack and UrbanBelly.

A salad of seasonal vegetables, pork loin and marinated kale–a current special at Belly Shack–will soon be available from BellyQ's grab-and-go counter. The counter will be open all day and stocked with healthy options inspired by the restaurant's neighbor, the West Loop Health Club.

The kale salad ($10) is a riot of flavor. After an overnight bath in fish sauce, sesame oil, lemongrass and lime juice, the kale is tossed with thin slices of roasted pork, a variety of spring vegetables, and chickpeas flavored with chipotle, cumin and Belly Shack's blackening spice.

For dessert, there's a vanilla soft-serve sundae ($5), at once silky, crunchy, chewy, and fresh with orange granita, strawberries, and tapioca cooked in yuzu juice. Kim has a handful of sundaes in the works for BellyQ, including a grapefruit granita with Champagne tapioca.

Another trial BellyQ dish will hit the specials menu at UrbanBelly shortly: Thai beef salad with cold udon noodles, roasted rice powder and pickled green papaya.

BellyShack, 1912 N. Western Ave.; 773-252-1414 or bellyshack.com