It comes with the territory. As the magazine’s dine editor, I regularly get hit up for restaurant recommendations during my off hours. I receive text messages from friends in the evenings, phone calls from family members on weekends, and—my personal favorite—the casual backyard barbecue sneak attack. (I’ve had three beers, but sure I can tell you where to eat for your anniversary!) Despite the title of this post, I’m always truly happy to help. But I insist every inquirer give me a few guidelines first: a) what part of town, b) price point, c) desired vibe, d) style of cuisine, or the name of a restaurant they already like. Here, I share my off-duty advice.
Who: A guy-friend who works in an architecture firm
Method of Inquiry: Text message
Scenario: Date with a gal he’s known/liked for years. He's very food savvy and is up on a lot of the newer spots.
Where: “Eastside or downtown”
Vibe: Atmospheric but not over-the-top romantic. Not too loud, but still hip, and a place that will make my buddy seem “in the know.”
Price Point: Mid-range
Type of Cuisine: He didn’t specify, but I figure it should be “date food” – in my mind that means not too messy, not too heavy, not too, er, "aromatic."
I Said: “There’s a new place called Kitchen Table that’s next to Bäco Mercat and has romantic outdoor rooftop seating. The food is a little better than average but the vibe is wonderful: black and white movies projected on the wall, good lighting. I like the food a little better than Perch, but Perch wins for the view. The Parish rules, but it’s heavier food, so, that depends on your girl. Also, I always love Barbrix for a date.”
They Went To: Kitchen Table
The Verdict: From my friend: “ Had a really perfect date [awwwwww]. The food was very good but nothing was mind-blowing. Atmosphere was the perfect balance of urban energy and romance. Our server was way too chatty (better overly friendly than under, I guess). We went to Varnish after for cocktails.”
410 S. Main St., downtown