So the time has come… you’ve finally landed that coveted dinner date with the cool chick you’ve been messaging for a week or two. So, what do you do?!?! Do you go all out and impress her? Do you play it safe? At the very least, you absolutely must avoid making a messy fool of yourself.
Also, disclaimer… for a first date, I always play it cool with just coffee or drinks off the bat… BUT, if that time has come and you’ve charmed her enough to actually want to go out and get a full on meal with you, for the love of God… AVOID these options.
Wings & Ribs
Wings and BBQ ribs are FANTASTIC, but certainly not what you want to eat with someone you’re trying to make a great second impression with. The sauce is too messy and the chance of getting something stuck in your teeth is ridiculously high. The opportunity cost is certainly not worth it. Same goes with nachos. No matter how delicious these loaded bar nachos are, there’s no clean way to eat nachos.
Ramen and Pho
Ok, I know slurping ramen is a cultural thing and actually encouraged in Japan to show the chef appreciation for the meal…. However, on a first date in the States, depending on your audience, it could definitely be viewed as a disgusting turn-off. Nobody likes to hear a water vacuum at dinner and the same goes for spaghetti. For the love of God, if you take this chick to a red sauce joint, please learn the proper way to twirl and eat spaghetti (with a fork only!! and no sucking it in!!). Ramen is great, just save it for the fourth date.
Also, watch this to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself and turn your shirt into a saucy, spaghetti mess.
Pizza can be a good option if you can get it by the slice (never deep dish), but the trick is you have to know how to eat certain pizzas. The thin crust, wood fired personal Neapolitan pizzas (like the ones you can get at Pizzana or Ugo), are actually supposed to be eaten with a fork and a knife.
However, for a bar pizza served as a larger sized pie and then eaten by the slice (like Tower Pizza or Good Pizza), refrain from using ANY utensils. You’ll look like an idiot. This is classic pizza, and should be folded and eaten with your hands as such.
Sushi is good but can be hit or miss so check if your date actually eats sushi beforehand. Otherwise, it’s a great chance to show off your wicked chopstick skills.
And whatever you do or wherever you go… Do not mansplain exotic foods to your date (maybe a first date isn’t the best time to take someone you’ve just met to a specialty Polish restaurant and dive into the intricacies of Pierogi and Kielbasa, just enjoy it).
Some safe bets are always tapas or small plates (tacos & quesadillas included), risotto dishes or even any standard chicken entree (Francese, Milanese, Scarpariello… the options are endless).
Lasagna is a great option as it could be cut up and you absolutely can’t go wrong with a juicy steak.
And you could maybe (just maybe), get away with a burger as long as it’s not too greasy or one of those ridiculously oversized gastropub burgers (I’m looking at you, Hopdoddy).
Also, disclaimer… all of the info in this entire article gets thrown out the window based on what your date suggests. If she’s got a craving for some messy hot wings, you do your best to make it the cleanest experience possible.
Finally, always cover the whole check. No matter how great or poorly the date went, remember, you’re a gentleman…. It’s just a cost of doing business. Go get ’em, tiger.