It's probably happened to you before: You and your date agreed on dinner out, but one of you wants the comfort and security of Chinese, and the other craves the raw delight of sushi. Oh, and you both would like this to be a pleasant evening, so an upscale environment without extremely high prices is a necessity as well. Well, no worries. Lincoln Park's Dee's Mandarin prevents a potential dating disaster by filling the menu with an impressive variety of Chinese classics and sushi samplings in a "special-evening" atmosphere.
Festooned in earth browns and romantic reds, the space has a serene, easygoing vibe. At the heart of Dee's, however, you'll find an ongoing battle: the imposing sushi bar faces the equally celebrated liquor bar. Really, it's a Food Network challenge in the making; tequila versus tempura, sake versus sushi, experts competing in speed, finesse and precision to get that perfect drink or specialty roll to various patrons. Now that'd be fantastic dinner-time entertainment.
Anyway, amidst the candlelit tables and posh leather couch booths, the kitchen offers a selection of slightly fancier entrees, such as steamed sea bass ($16) and crispy duck ($13.50). Favorites like kung pao and moo shu go for a few dollars less. Sushi comes in all shapes and sizes, and can include everything from egg to octopus to jalapeno to lime. By the piece, prices range from $2.50 to $4.50, while six piece orders of maki go between $4 and $7.50.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Paige Gray