The Great Wall of China was constructed to keep roving packs of ancient pandas from absconding with the local cuisine. Succeed where the bears failed with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of authentic Cantonese cuisine, sushi, and more at Friendship Chinese Restaurant, with two convenient locations. Friendship Restaurant's Logan Square locale is plotted just a few blocks north of the Blue Line stop (dine-in only); the Lake Front Drive digs currently offer only delivery and carryout service, until the outdoor patio opens in the spring.
Gourmands and grub hounds delight in Friendship's menu of distinctly modern, Cantonese-infused cuisine. The restaurant recently expanded its nosh selection to include fresh sushi as well, tickling tongue buds with the inspired creations of Chef “T”, who trained under the executive chef of the Japanese Embassy and has fed the mouths of celebrities far, wide, and secretly gap-toothed. With the help of his sushi assistant, "T" adds epicurean elegance to maki rolls such the melted tempura shrimp, a globetrotting posse of the titular crustacean alongside mozzarella cheese, avocado, and unagi sauce ($13.95). Carnivorous teeth tingle for crispy beef peking ($13.95), which arrives wading in a decadent pool of spicy red-wine sauce. A burnished, blue-hued dining room gives mealtime tête-à-têtes the air of a romantic evening with Aquaman, despite decidedly terrestrial ingredients such as lily flower buds, wood ear, tofu sheets, and exotic mushrooms dotting the delectable Temple's Feast entree ($11.95). House luncheons ($8.95) are available 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
With its distinctly Chinese-American architecture, tactile chopstick experience, and olfactory-pleasing blend of spices, Friendship eschews only the Chinese custom of a premeal bird-call competition from its multisensory verisimilitude. Owner Alan Yuen confesses a despair over the popularity of cheap, inauthentic Chinese food, lending a sense of nobility to the otherwise festive degustation.
This Groupon cannot be used for the Tuesday-night special.
The Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, and Centerstage featured the original Logan Square location of Friendship Chinese Restaurant, and 460 Yelpers give it an average of 3.5 stars. Twenty-two Yelpers give the new Lake Front location a three-star average:
- 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, Logan Square location, Centerstage
- The food is delicious and the delivery presentation was quite nice; love the cake box! – Elizabeth K., Lake Front location, Yelp, 2/19/10
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.