The idea of this blog is to review restaurants, but only in the context of how palatable (punny, right) they are for dating. As I seem to be a bit of an expert on the nuances of dating, but especially how IMPORTANT the right setting is for those first few dates, I decided to opine on the various Chicago eateries/lounges.
This week’s installment
This week’s review sends us to the outer banks of the Wicker
Park corner of Division and Damen to a semi luxe bar called
“Vintage.” Now before you imagine Edith Piaf renditions of
“L’Etranger” crooning through Aunt Vivian’s phonograph or
musty silk raiments please take hold, Vintage simply refers
to the fruit of the vine.
Vintage is an excellent place for a first date, barring one rule:
come before 10pm. At that magic hour, the subtle electronica
escalates into an assault of thumping elephant beats. (“turn it down,
sonny!”) The club, wine bar, what have you boasts an
excellent menu, as the chef changed somewhere around summer
of 07, though portions can be a bit stingy. The artichoke hearts are above
average though with a slightly excessively oily sauce. The pizza
is an excellent value and restrains itself with only the best
basil, cheese and sauce, a true Margherita.
But again let’s keep the focus on atmosphere. First dates usually involve
two slightly edgy people eagerly gulping down the first
glass to calm their nerves. That is why I recommend the
waitstaff, friendly (I especially love B.J. and please no obvious jokes here,
and the other chick Danielle?) yet they are not painfully perky pests.
There is one embittered bartender who failed to laugh at my off the
cuff joke about lawyers, but he was the exception. Unfortunately the overhead light
is least flattering to those concerned with bags under their eyes
but if you sit by the front, the bar or outdoors during the summer
you can get the necessary antiaging luminescence. Unfortunately post 10pm
the place becomes a coterie of youngish men in douchebag shirts
and the ladies who love them and love to talk LOUD. One other
drawback involving after hours is that people are rumored to enter
the bathroom in pairs, ahem ahem.
So to recap: good for a first date if sitting by the bar or in front, before
10pm, and don’t be afraid to order a tasty appetizer or entrée. BAD
if one has laryngitis, has an aversion to neo Sade lounge music,
and sits under those ghastly lights in the left back area.