Sky Full of Bacon

So the two halves of my belly are having an argument about Urban Belly, the new ultrahip pan-Asian place from some Charlie Trotter vets which is the hot lunch spot of the moment on LTHForum.

The Right Belly looks at dishes like these…

lamb with brandy dumplings…

shortribs with rice…

Chinese eggplant with Thai basil…

Porkbelly ramen… and admires the subtlety and cleanness of the flavors, the quality of the ingredients, the non-stinky pork, the crunch of the eggplant…

And then the Left Belly says “$41! For four little bowls? Are you freakin’ nuts?” (This was for two of us, by the way. So lunch would be a mere $20 or so if I was by myself.)

I’m not quite sure where I, as a whole person, come out on this. Part of me admires the miles-beyond-Penny’s, Korean-version-of-Avec ambition of this place, part of me thinks that people who came straight from Trotter have no freakin’ clue what things in a little strip mall on California ought to cost. On the other hand, they’re just down the street from another guy who’d serve a combination like lamb and brandy, and he’s doing land office business selling hot dogs for a lot more than the usual buck fifty, so who knows. I suppose the ultimate proof of where I come out on this will be whether (since it’s close to home) I get into the habit of popping in there once a month, price be damned and quality be praised, or if I find myself just unable to say “Swimming-pool sized bowl of soup at Tank Noodle, $5, little teeny bowl at Urban Belly, $13, I’ll take the $13 bowl please.”

And whether a whole lot of other people do, too.

3053 N. California
Chicago, IL 60618

P.S. Two small comments. What’s with the whole edamame? How are you supposed to eat those? And the spritzing of one end of the table with Windex while the other end is still eating is a seriously bad idea. At least get some froufy natural cleanser that smells like Meyer lemon or something.

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