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In his long and varied career, Bill Kim has never run a kitchen that engaged in regular brunch service—until now. That's partially because of where he's worked (Charlie Trotter's never did get around to serving Sunday-morning pancakes), and partially because Kim just isn't a morning eater. "I don't eat breakfast," he says. "I drink a banana shake." That shake—a creation of Kim's wife, Yvonne Cadiz Kim—made it to the new brunch menu at bellyQ(1400 W Randolph St, 312-563-1010), but it's among the more conventional items offered. Most of the menu is comprised of traditional brunch foods that Kim and his team have injected with Asian influences: crispy waffles dotted with specks of nori, fried chicken with a coconut-milk gravy. "We take the classics and we put our twist on it," Kim says. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his take on eggs Benedict.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to brunch in Chicago
The eggsEggs for a Benedict are traditionally poached, but Kim chose another route: These eggs are cooked sous vide for eight minutes, then peeled, coated with tempura batter and fried until, he says, they're "crispy, soft and runny."
The meatDuck breast is cured in smoked salt and Szechuan peppercorns overnight, then smoked for eight hours, giving it all the satisfying notes of a thick slice of bacon.
The greensNo, it's not spinach—it's kai lan (Chinese broccoli).
The baseBao buns fill in where English muffins traditionally sit. (BellyQ makes so much bao in-house that it's hired a full-time bao baker.)
The sauceKim punches up traditional hollandaise with multiple layers of Asian flavors: Korean chili paste, fish sauce, kafir lime and red Thai curry sauce.
Bill Kim’s take on eggs Benedict replaces every element with an Asian substitute.
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