Chinese food is traditionally eaten with chopsticks, a civilized alternative to feeding your dining partner across the table with a long-handled spoon. Today's Groupon treats you to Chinese cuisine to please any mouth. For $20, you get $40 worth of authentic Cantonese cuisine and drinks at Friendship Restaurant, located just a few blocks north of the Blue Line stop in Logan Square. This Groupon is also good for Friendship's downtown location, though it only offers delivery and carryout until its outdoor patio opens in spring. Though you can use today's Groupon on drinks, bringing your own wine (corking fee $6) to the Logan Square location will save money for a starter like the popular creamy crab rangoon ($5.95) or a bowl of Soup Buddha ($4.95).
After a server escorts you past Friendship's wall of bronze Buddha heads, one of which is real, you'll be seated in a burnished dining area accented with blue-shaded overhead lights, where you can peruse a menu of Cantonese-infused dishes prepared with a distinctly modern flair. Elfin-sounding ingredients like lily flower buds, wood ear, tofu sheets, and exotic mushrooms dot the delectable Temple's Feast ($11.95). Likewise, the pineapple fried rice ($11.95) is marinated in Alize cognac before it's wok tossed with shrimp and chicken, while the spicy honey-glazed orange chicken ($11.95) comes splashed with a little Grand Marnier and Szechwan red chili. Friendship's downtown location, meanwhile, also serves up signature maki rolls, such as the Lake Front 200 (spicy tuna and cream cheese with avocado, asparagus, and crunchy shrimp tempura wrapped in soy bean and topped with tobiko and citrus mayo, $14.95), and bento boxes like the opulent Gold Wall bento ($19.95). House luncheons ($8.95) are available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
With its tall red columns, green awnings, and circular windows, Friendship looks like a piece of Chinatown that stubbornly refused to move when Chicago's Chinese community first discovered Chinatown on the near South Side. The restaurant's elegant interior adds a much-needed style injection to a nervous first date and gives dining alone the sensual, lovelorn romanticism of a Wong Kar-Wai movie. Friendship's owner, Alan Yuen, confesses that the popularity of low-grade Chinese buffets makes him weep bitterly, so succor him in his grief by treating a table of friends to today's Groupon.
This Groupon cannot be used for the Tuesday night special.
- …Friendship Chinese Restaurant hits you over the head with its stunning outer decor. Its tall red columns, green awnings and circular windows will have you referring to your mental map to confirm you aren't in Chinatown. You'll be pleasantly surprised again to see the fabulous interior. Hardwood floors, soft lighting and lavish table setups give this restaurant a sense of class absent along Logan Square's stretch of Milwaukee. – Keith Ecker, Centerstage
- Anything sweet-and-sour here is a good bet, as the sauce is made with a fruit-juice reduction instead of cane or honey sugars. The hot-and-sour soup's especially good, made with seafood and julienned mushrooms rather than pork, and even dishes as simple as spicy Szechuan long beans (green beans with red pepper and garlic) stand out. The cheesy, nifty Buddhist-temple facade's been kept, while the dining room's had a needed degriming and natty red-and-black paint job. – Ann Sterzinger, Chicago Reader
- …Alan Yuen renovated his family's chop suey house (even installing beautiful hardwood floors himself) and set about turning out solid Canto-American classics. Sesame beef and honey-walnut shrimp are joined by creations like stir-fried seafood in a shredded potato "bird's nest," pan-seared salmon with lemongrass curry, and boneless Peking duck with Grand Marnier sauce. Don't want to go out? Take advantage of the brisk delivery service. – Time Out Chicago
A survey of Groupon users after our last Friendship feature revealed a satisfying experience, with patrons rating the Groupon redemption process 4.6 stars out of five. Friendship has also been inundated with a passionate outpouring of 387 reviews on Yelp, scoring an average of 3.5 stars, and over 100 Urbanspooners give 82% approval:
- This is how Chinese food should be done. The lollipop wings, calamari, and pineapple coconut shrimp with candied walnuts are amazing. And the prices are very reasonable. – E, Urbanspoon
Friendship Chinese Restaurant
Chefs at Friendship Chinese Restaurant forge their dishes with an intense pride and dedication to the tradition of well-crafted cuisine. Entrees include lamb shank with black mushrooms roasted in a clay pot and a shredded Peking duck with XO brandy sauce. The eatery's authentic Hong Kong street vendor and small cafe-style tastes—along with modern twists—are available for delivery as well as dine-in eating amid the dining room's dark hardwood decor and rows of Buddha-head statues.