Today’s New York Times’ Dining section has a fun piece about where New Yorkers are going on dates these days, especially those deal-making, or breaking, first dates. The trend is toward casual, fun, paper-napkins, sit-at-the-bar bistros where you know the tab won’t make you feel crummy if, by the appetizers, you know this is also probably also going to be the last date.
My sweetie (10 years so far) took me to Le Madeleine, a now-closed, beloved (sob) French restaurant on West 44th., then not far from his newspaper workplace. I remember the room and the waiter and what my guy wore. I don’t remember the food, but the ambiance was perfect: quiet, a lovely room, tables far enough apart for privacy. Our subsequent restaurant dates were almost always French bistros, which suited me fine as a Francophile who prefers elegance to paper napkins. Since then, we’ve eaten everything from road food in New Mexico to goulash at our favorite Toronto spot, Prague. Yes, we do love to eat.
Where your would-be lover takes you for a first (or subsequent) date can set the tone for many more shared meals — or wreck it for good. Maybe she’s nasty to the waiter or he cheaps out on the tip. Maybe they chew with their mouth open or yammer on their cellphone. Maybe a $35 steak seems too ostentatious, while a hot dog in the stands (yes, one of my dates extended himself only that far) looks just mingy.
Where do you take your dates? What makes those restaurants or bars work for you?