Monday, August 25, 2008

Narrow down the restaurant list even more

After you narrow your list of potential restaurants down to those that meet your economic and ambiance requirements, narrow the list down even more by doing the following:
  • Pick a place you know. Menu familiarity reeks of confidence. You’ll sound like Cary Grant if you lean over and say, “Try the duck. It’s out of this world.” Also, knowing a restaurant well means that you’re comfortable with the service, the all-important table spacing, the lighting, the wine list, the taste, the presentation, and payment procedures. It’s the way to ensure you’ll have a good time. And if you’re happy, your date stands a better chance of being happy, too. Avoid trendy new hot spots. Number one, they are often very difficult to get into, and number two, they can be very expensive — you don’t want to put your MasterCard into meltdown. Number three, these days, they tend to be noisy! It isn’t the type of place you want to be on a first date. Save the trendy, expensive hot spots until the two of you know each other better. Scout out some very nice quiet restaurants that will not keep you waiting. Getting drunk at the bar while waiting for your table will not make you look suave. Another added advantage of by-passing the bar wait is that you’ll find yourself with money left over for your college education or braces on your eventual children’s teeth. Most importantly, make it someplace quiet where you can talk.
  • Pick a place that knows you. What could be cooler than a maitre d’ smiling widely when you walk in or a waiter saying, “Nice to see you again!”? Better, though, is the fact that regulars usually get the best tables and most prompt service — both of which go a long way in creating a great first date.
  • Pick a place where your date can eat. There’s the obvious (don’t take a vegetarian to a steak house) and the more subtle (if his cholesterol count is above 300, steer clear of the Wisconsin Cheese Fest). Chances are, unless you already know each other well, you won’t know the intricacies of your date’s dietary preferences. Simple solution: Ask ahead of time. Less simple: Keep everyone’s options open by selecting neutral territory, such as a restaurant with a large menu or a coffeehouse with a small one.

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