by Kate Schmidt
First up: Belly Shack, the much-hyped Logan Square venture from Bill Kim of Urban Belly, opened Tuesday in the former Vella Cafe space, transformed by industrial-chic trappings. The concept is Asian-Latin fusion, with offerings ranging from a Korean BBQ "Kogi" sandwich to a jibarito with Chinese black beans, marinated tofu, and brown rice; sides include kimchi and tostones. Under the heading "U Kud Like Dis" is the dessert menu, which consists solely of soft-serve ice cream in flavors dreamed up by Hot Chocolates Mindy Segal—bacon-chocolate chip and Vietnamese cinnamon-salted caramel are two current options. BYO; no reservations.
The French-Mexican Sabor Saveur opened October 18 on the border of Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village. Born in Mexico and trained there and in New York, chef Yanni Sanchez also put in some time at the Paris Ritz Carlton. Her current menu includes manchego-Roquefort fondue with tequila, chipotle-spiced duck confit, and langosta enchiladas. It's BYO for now, with a liquor license in the works.
Finally, theres two-week-old Fame da Lupo, an Uptown BYO where in addition to the standard pizzas and pastas there are a few eastern European specialties like hot dog pizza, which owner Lubo Vladi Gate says was inspired by slices sold on the streets of his native Bulgaria. The Bulgarian influence also shows up in the Fame da Lupo sandwich, with lukanka, a spicy Bulgarian sausage, feta cheese, and lutenitza, a pepper-and-eggplant spread. It's BYO and open till 11 PM nightly.
Other openings slated for this week: Crepe Crave (1752 W. North), which is too new to have a phone, and Pitchfork Food and Saloon (2922 W. Irving Park), which is also unresponsive.
In case you're wondering about the title of this new feature, the Reader's policy on reviewing restaurants is old-school: we give a place at least a month to get its ducks in a row before sending in the critics. But of course you don't have to wait that long to try them (or to add your review to our site).
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