Sweet Sixteen and Savory, Too

They're both just 16, and he’s mapping out their first date. So he's thinking big—like steak dinner big. Also tall, as in the Empire State Building. Bowling would be cool, too. Before you question his seriousness, hear him out, because he's thinking several moves ahead: "this girl means the world to me," swears newestuser. "I have intentions of making my first love my wife, and she is my first love so yeah."

Chowhounds know their chow but they also know the human heart, and they’ve got newestuser's back. sugartoof steers him toward the Village, home to the hound-endorsed Strip House. "Go big and go for the steakhouse," she counsels. "If you fall on your face, consider it a life lesson, but at least you'll eat good." An early-evening seating would ensure a more casual vibe and a less crowded restaurant. "Make sure you order the richer sides so you can drift off into a food haze during awkward pauses," sugartoof advises, "or talk about how great the goose fat potatoes are."

And right around the corner, she points out, is Bowlmor Lanes.

Others fear a steakhouse could set the wrong mood. "As a single woman," says BaconBits, "I have been taken on quite a few dates to steakhouses and find it a complete turnoff - the atmosphere is just too masculine for a date." Gotham Bar and Grill, the popular New American place just across the street from Strip House, would be a superior choice, she suggests: "It will make you look sophisticated and sexy, yet I think the menu is approachable and the restaurant will make you feel welcome."

And some just aren’t feeling the love at a bowling alley: "ew, rented shoes!" sniffs kathryn, "not to mention SUPER awkward if I'm dressed up nicely." She would also ditch the Empire State Building in favor of the Top of the Rock, a more up-to-date high-elevation venue from which "you can actually SEE the Empire State Building." And close by, she notes, are date-friendly spots like La Maison du Chocolat, for fancy French sweets, and the Bar Room at the Modern, for dessert and a nonalcoholic quaff.

The last word comes from thousandrobots, who seems to have been there and done at least some of that: "if the girl is really into you, you don't need to spend a lot of money on her (trust me). If she's not into you, spending a lot of money isn't going to change it (trust me again)."

Strip House [Greenwich Village]
13 E. 12th Street (between Fifth Avenue and University Place), Manhattan
212-328-0000

Bowlmor Lanes [Greenwich Village]
110 University Place (between E. 12th and 13th streets), Manhattan
212-255-8188

Gotham Bar and Grill [Greenwich Village]
12 E. 12th Street (between Fifth Avenue and University Place), Manhattan
212-620-4020

La Maison du Chocolat [Midtown]
30 Rockefeller Plaza (49th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues), Manhattan
212-265-9404

The Bar Room at the Modern [Midtown]
9 W. 53rd Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), Manhattan
212-333-1220

Discuss: Should I take my girl out to a Steakhouse on first date? Teens

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