One thing that can temper the icy sheets of Chicago’s blustery winters, where Lake Michigan squalls and sharp winds rip between skyscrapers, isÂ the perfect bowl of soup.Â There have been many suitors over the years including the sultry all-spice perfumed chili at Ramova Grill, the beefy Pho at Pho 888, and Bruce Sherman’s perennial sweet corn and thyme garnished with frog legs.
This year’s contender, however, is theÂ Hot and Sour soupÂ from Bill Kim’sÂ Belly ShackÂ featuring mineral-tinged chunks of hominy, silken shards of chicken and a successful game of brinksmanship with the cumin and salt shakers. It’s less Chinese and more Mexican, in fact so Mexican, Rick Bayless could add it to his line-up of caldos atÂ Xoco. In fact, I think it’s better than any of the more Asian-style soups at Kim’s other more soup driven spot,Â Urban Belly. The limey-tinged corn vapors hovering over the bowl, the layers of flavor, and droplets of golden fat at the top of the broth make this the best bowl of pozole-style soup I’ve ever had.