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May 3, 2007 08:02 AM

Date Spot? Dinner and drinks....

Looking for a good first date spot for tonight. Prefer to avoid the SoCo area because of first thursday and I'm burned out on the west 6th scene. Something casual and drinky.

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  1. 34th Street Cafe and then the Cloak Room.

    1. Price range? What is your type of crowd?
      Give me an example of one of your ideas and then maybe I can come up with some similar places.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Honey Bee

        Go grab a pizza at Mangia's and eat it at Nasty's. Wash down with pitcher of everclear margartias. If his/her eyes are still open after second pitcher you have a winner.

        ooops. . . uhhhh. . . did I say that out loud?

        Caution: avoid Nasty's if Rugby team is present.

        Also, the Wink wine bar is a good place. Subdued, quiet, and mostly empty. You can order several appetizers/salads and graze, which in my opinion is the best way to eat at wink.

        1. re: El General

          I was driving by that Mangia's yesterday. It appeared that they gutted the building and that Amy's is potentially expanding into it. Can't be sure, though.

          1. re: rudeboy

            Yes, Mangia moved to a newer location further down the drag closer to campus. Around where Rays Steakhouse used to be across from Wheatsville coop, in that new condo monstrosity that they built there.

            1. re: Homero

              I haven't gotten a pizza from them in about 10 years. I guess that ruins my date scenario ;)

      2. I like Hyde Park Grill for a first date. A wide range of food (esp. if you're not sure if he/she is a picky eater) and a full bar to boot. It's intimate enough that you can actually talk to (and hear) your date but not overly "romantic." If things are going well, swing by Dolce Vita next door for dessert and more drinks or if you want something more laid back head over to Spider House for a pitcher of Sangria.

        1. El Chile?
          El Gringo (mixed reviews on thew board, but the food was good on my visit)?

          7 Replies
          1. re: Honey Bee

            opted for El Chile and it was quite good. Interesting that some of you mention Hyde Park Bar and Grill. I've been several times and 1) the fries suck 2) the rest of the food is only slightly better than Applebee's, etc. I just dont' get it.

            1. re: SlapYoMamma

              My real suggestion for HPB&G was rooted in the fact that often on a first date you don't know what your dining partner's preferences are (are they squeamish, picky, spice haters, vegetarian, etc.). Their food is not adventurous, and the menu sticks to all-American fare. But, I'd hardly compare it to Crapplebee's. IMO their burgers aren't bad and many of my veg friends rank their veggie burger just behind the superior Houston's version. I'm partial to their fried artichoke hearts (but you throw damn near anything in the deep fryer and I'll eat it), their fish dishes, and their yummy bleu cheese vinagrette. I also like their flat iron steak. It's usually swimming in a sweetish soy based sauce which I love, but isn't for everyone. Their fries, well I'm not sure I get the hype (I'd take Opal Divine's with the ranch any day) but I think it's also their "austin institution" status that gets them all the awards with this. The other thing I do like is their wine list. It tends to be very affordable by the glass and not completely filled with the usual suspects (crap bottles I could get a bottle at the Texaco for less than a restaurants glass price). Again, though, as with all 'hound reviews it's opinion. But, finding a date spot in town where you can actually hear your date over dinner is a little difficult....and my last first date their led to a long happy relationship I'm still in.

              1. re: SlapYoMamma

                Glad you enjoyed El Chile.
                I agree with you on Hyde Park Grill, I don't care for their fries at all.

                1. re: Honey Bee

                  I have to speak up for the HPB&G. I really dig Hyde Parks Fries. But the sauce is what makes the fries. Sort of a remoulade sauce with a little kick. That sauce would make most anything taste good.
                  And, that you can get blue cheese on a burger is a big plus.

                  1. re: TroyTempest

                    If you have to rely on mayo to make the fries taste good- you've got bad french fries.

                    1. re: SlapYoMamma

                      That doesn't necessarily follow, SYM. A remoulade or bechmel or bernaise can greatly enhance or "make" a dish that may taste good or great without it. Just because you add the sauce doesn't necessarily mean that the underlying dish is "bad." But I get your point; you don't like the fries at Hyde Park.

                      1. re: Twill

                        Good point, Twill.

                        And this is maybe a good lesson for the OP [original poster] that asking for something "casual and drinky" for a first-date spot, especially when you seem to be new to the board, is probably not detailed enough to rule out suggestions of places like Hyde Park that may or may not have good fries.

                        After all, (1) people have different tastes, and (2) you didn’t specify yours.

                        Perhaps "SlapYoMamma" would like to tell us more about the first-date dinner at El Chile and what made the chow "quite good." That might be productive. Or, then again, we could collectively decide to retire this thread, as the date is over.

            2. Some other good non-South Congress date options, moderate cost:

              Vivo - fairly standard Tex-Mex, but good margaritas and a nice, sexy atmosphere
              Romeo's - good red sauce-type Italian, not fine dining, but fun and dark/quiet
              Freddy's (really!) - if the weather is nice, Freddy's deck is cool. Sit together in the swing or toss some washers