BEST RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE - 2002
As soon as you pull up to the valet out front, your intended will know how cool you are: Did they use a casting agency to draft all those broad-shouldered hotties? Sheesh. Way to class up a sidewalk. Stroll through the orange air lock toward the host stand and it's like leaving Minneapolis for the weekend, without the troubles that arise when real first dates do that (cf. Shipmates). You'll never get a table straight away, which is perfect, because you'll get to while away an hour over a couple of super-potent drinks. Do you go for the cozy-enforcing toadstool room, with its low ottoman seating? Or the see-and-be-seen bar? Clearly, that's a basic compatibility question. At table, the dishes are sized for sharing, making for more negotiating and getting-to-know-you patter. If your date's smart and iconoclastic enough to stick to the more delicate appetizers--oooh, they do have a way with Asian preparations of raw salmon and grilled beef--while forgoing the larger entrées, that's a good sign. And hell, if Looked Good gets to Sounding Scary, just pretend you can't hear your companion over the constant din, then excuse yourself and spend an hour in the unisex sink-and-mirror area near the bathroom handing out compliments. Next week: Rinse, repeat.