Inform your date that you will be dining in a restaurant adjacent to a Mariott near Midway Airport, and the rendezvous might end before it even begins. But if you can actually get someone out to Dempsey's, it will not be a wasted evening. The restaurant serves as a tribute to Irish-American boxer Jack Dempsey, bragging a pair of his gloves encased in glass near the entry way, an elevated dining area roped off to resemble a boxing ring and countless photos and newspaper clippings cluttering the walls.
The menu is reflective of the cause with Shepard's pie and a brothy chicken dish made with Irish whiskey, but it also branches out with a damn fine, and fancy, salmon dish. A generous basket of bread is served before you order, complete with two swirls of butter: one lightly sweetened, the other herbed. Two other points of notice: Dempsey's French onion soup is some of the most decadent in the Midwest (its fortitude helps fend off the much less robust Musak playing in the dining room); and on Saturday night there's a prime rib buffet for only $24.95. You might want to get a room.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: J. Tyson