Living in Chicago, there is always plenty of good food to be had. Joe and I try to get out and sample as much as we deem financially responsible, and we have pushed ourselves to try new places frequently. One place we had heard a lot of buzz about was Urban Belly, a casual Korean noodle joint owned by chef Bill Kim and his wife. We actually went over the summer (seems so long ago!), but I never got around to actually blogging about it. I guess I was just waiting for the right time, and it seems that that time is now!
Yesterday, the James Beard Foundation announced the Semifinalists for the 2010 awards, and I was excited to see that Bill Kim was among the Best Chef nominees for the Great Lakes region. Based on the meal we had at Urban Belly, I felt like this was something he really deserved. What I really like was that Urban Belly is casual, non-pretentious, and relatively inexpensive. This restaurant is an example of a classically trained, accomplished chef doing his take on food from his childhood. You can tell this place is a labor of love, and this nomination shows that the James Beard foundation is not only focused on the kind of fancy, expensive food that none of us "real folks" can eat. If you're in Chicago, I'd recomend trying out Urban Belly for yourself. Or, if you're coming to visit me some time soon, remind me and we can go together!