Szechuan cuisine is known for its heat. Chef/owner Tony Hu imports ingredients such as peppercorns and chili bean paste directly from China and the menu’s filled with items that pack plenty of kick, including a chef's special fried chicken with fistfuls of dried chilis.
Low lighting and softly illumined golden Buddhas set the scene for a romantic evening. 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.
Though there are plentiful meat options on Yummy Yummy’s menu, vegetarians will rejoice to find more than 60 meat-less dishes. Szechwan veggie dumplings, general Tao’s soy gluten, and pan fried tofu are but a few options best washed down with smoothies blended from more than 20 fresh fruits.
Opulent golden wallpaper, latticework, and silk art prints adorn this 1930s-inspired Shanghai supper club. Under moody lighting, diners can partake in wok-roasted lobster and fried noodles with shrimp, while cocktails can be sipped on the equally-elegant terrace during summertime months.
Food critics may not be known for their dance moves, but the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel claims his “taste buds do a little happy dance” at the mere thought of Sun Wah’s Peking duck dinner. But beware: the prized barbeque duck is so popular that diners typically order it when placing their reservation.
The walls may depict ‘Maostalgiac’ motifs—a playful nod to the Chairman—but Lao Hunan's entrees pack some serious flavor. “Mayor of Chinatown” Tony Hu and his chefs incorporate chilies and ‘dry heat’ into dishes, including a famous Hunan chili in black bean sauce that a reviewer from the Chicago Reader called, "one of the most irresistible things I've eaten all year".
Diners pass around steamed buns and sesame-roasted chicken—but not just because the plates are shareable. It’s also to mask sweeping inspections for celebrity diners such as Hope Solo or Channing Tatum––just a few who have been spotted sampling the trendy cuisine and daily craft cocktail specials.
Though there can be a wait, the steamed buns and tender spare ribs at this Hong-Kong-style eatery make it worthwhile. Served from a point-and-choose illustrated menu, the exotic small plates allow diners to try a bit of everything without filling up too soon. Beautiful latticework on the walls offsets the informal menu, allowing diners to savor their deep fried taro puffs and sui mai in an elegant atmosphere.
This BYOB (no corkage fee) storefront offers a five-course, prix-fixe menu for $25 per person. Chef Guan Chen's Chinese fusion offers a taste a tour world cooking traditions while staying true to its Asian core. The price and quality make it a destination date-night spot.
Though it’s a trek south, Chi Café stays open until 5 a.m. on weekends. If the evening has gone blurry by then, the menu section entitled “special snacks” has your back, with chicken wings and crab rangoon easing the transition from party-mode to sleepy cab ride home.
Deal or no deal, our editors strongly recommend these businesses based on their reputation, popularity, and quality of service.