Belly-Up

Bill Kim's original spot gets an upgrade

"Sucks to be you," says Randolph Street to Avondale.

The reason for gloating: the relocation of Bill Kim's first restaurant, Urbanbelly, into the western half of his newest, Belly Q.

The counter-service noodle and dumpling spot became an instant off-the-beaten-path favorite when it opened in 2008, but with its move it got a bigger space and an expanded menu of Kim's pan-cultural mash-ups.

"I have a new, high-tech wok and tons of storage space, so now I get to do serious stir-fries," says Kim.

How Bill Kim does Pad Thai

Oblong Korean rice cakes are one ingredient emerging from said wok, serving as crispy, chewy stand-ins for rice noodles in pad Thai ($14). They're served in a deep bowl packed with all the standard pad Thai accompaniments (carrots, bean sprouts, peanuts), plus chives, cucumber and plump shrimp.

Lemongrass chicken fried rice ($10) is a standout newcomer–a jumble of caramelized marinated chicken, fried garlic, scallions and kaffir lime leaves that's both comforting and complex.

Buffalo chicken dumplings | Inside Urbanbelly

The dumpling menu received the most playful revamp. Kim's superlative pork-cilantro potstickers ($6) are joined by Buffalo chicken dumplings ($6): A crisp, deep-fried wonton mimics chicken skin and hot-savory-sour Belly Fire sauce with sweet chile sauce and butter plays the Buffalo role.

Of the dumpling-wing hybrid, Kim says: "It's part of a theme: taking myself a little less seriously." So far, we like the new attitude.