Friendship Restaurant in Logan Square bills itself as “180-degrees from ordinary Chinese." The designation is accurate. The menu avoids the usual cliches, focusing, instead, on creative dishes like tea smoked salmon with scallops” and shrimp mousse stuffed Cornish game hen with crispy prawns in lobster sauce & chili oil. Deciding what to order is difficult, especially on Tuesday nights when all of the entrees are $11.95, a price lower than any of the entree prices on the regular menu.
Friendship’s decor also deviates from the norm. The lighting is subdued, and the tables are far enough apart to encourage conversation. If the restaurant looks uncrowded in the accompanying photos, it's because they were taken on the Tuesday night the Cubs made their unsuccessful bid to snag a spot in the playoffs, a night when only the sports’ bars were crowded. On a typical Tuesday, reservations are probably a good idea.
Our party of four went light on the appetizers, given the price on the entrees. Even so, we couldn't take a pass on the pan seared pot stickers and the calamari. Next time, we'll probably order a soup, since the three options-oxtail broth with pork and wood ear wontons, potato leek bisque with fried ginger, slow simmered mushroom soup with egg tofu-were all intriguing.
We decided to order a total of four entrees instead of our usual three plus appetizers and dessert. A really good special definitely merits an amended game plan.
Friendship's streamlined version of Peking duck was at the top of everyone's list. Designed to be a single dish in a multi-dish meal ( as opposed to the traditional three-course, duck- focused meal), it includes steamed buns to wrap around pieces of boneless pork in orange sauce. Up next were the crispy red snapper in a red wine peppercorn sauce and the "Fishman's Boat," a luxe combo of snapper, salmon, scallops, shrimp and calamari in a black bean sauce perfumed with garlic. The wild mushroom beef made with four different kinds of mushrooms rounded out the meal.
Friendship's drink menu is focused on cocktails, a good choice with well-spiced Asian food. Wine is a stretch, and the restaurant menus only two- a red and a white. We ordered the white, a reasonably priced Sauvignon Blanc that paired surprisingly well with the food. The restaurant also serves a trio of Asian beers.
The people at the next table said they were "regulars." They even confessed to ordering the same dishes every week. I can actually understand that kind of consistency. I've been to restaurants where I liked one entree so much that I had a hard time ordering anything else on subsequent visits. That's not going to happen at Friendship. I'm already planning the next dinner, and the whiskey drunken shrimp is definitely at the top of the list, along with the star anise short ribs and the Cornish game hens.
Friendship Restaurant, 2830 N. Milwaukee Avenue 773.227.0970
Bar Roma Chicago is celebrating Halloween with a costume party and special prices on sips and nibbles. Happy Hour prices-half off on apps and meatballs, $6 for select glasses of wine-are available from 5-6:30 and again from 9-10pm. Costume judging, complete with prizes, is at 8 pm. Chef Fred Ramos’ dinner menu will be available throughout the evening.
5101 N. Clark Street
The Tortoise Supper Club will be serving pheasant pie ($32.95) throughout the month of October. The dish, which features a buttery crust and a foie gras brandy sauce, is made with Wisconsin pheasant and served only for dinner.
Tortoise Supper Club
350 N. State Street
In partnership with Goose Island, Pinstripes Chicago is hosting a four-course dinner ($60) featuring a different beer with every course on Friday, October 12 at 7pm.
435 E. Illinois Street