Complete Pho Customization at bellyQ For Great Cause

As regular readers of my blog will surely know by now, there are plenty of options for great pho in Chicago.  But few, if any top-line, classically-trained chefs in the city have devoted much time to perfecting the classic Vietnamese soup. Tomorrow night, however, one of my favorite Korean chefs in town is taking up the challenge, and it’s for a great cause.

Chef Bill Kim, who closed his street food spot Belly Shack just a few weeks ago (though he insists fans won’t be disappointed by the resulting offerings at Urban Belly, which now adjoins his Randolph Street restaurant), brings a pho bar to life at bellyQ, appropriately deemed “Pho for Life.” A portion of the proceeds will benefit Common Threads, an organization that supports culinary education for kids in the city. Chef Kim and his wife have been an integral part of the nonprofit’s Chicago branch for more than seven years, fostering culinary education for children who rarely experience good food outside of their own neighborhoods.

For $25 per person, guests have access to the precise pho of their dreams. “When you go to a pho restaurant,” says Kim, “everything is given to you.” At his Pho Bar, guests can choose what they like, and avoid the feeling of neglect that may accompany the avoidance of particular toppings dropped on the table by default.

Guests can choose between a chicken broth or a vegetarian miso and mushroom broth to accompany freshly blanched rice noodles, then choose from a variety of accoutrements – 15 in all – including jalapeno, dill, Thai basil, cilantro, radishes, lime and crispy shallots. To top it off, bellyQ’s proprietary hot sauces, including the Belly Fire and the incendiary Belly Bomb, can add a dose of heat to whatever you decide to add to your bowl.

Tickets include a few hors d’oeuvres and one cocktail, plus access to the Pho Bar.

Cooking Pho Life
January 17, 6-8 p.m.
1400 W. Randolph St.; (312) 563-1010
Tickets: $25

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