Thanks to those of you who recommended Chameleon Cafe for the birthday dinner (I was the one who wanted to take my date for a nice birthday dinner...) I wanted to report that it was really nice--and exactly the sort of charming but non-pretentious place I was looking for.
I was a little nervous at first cause though I had a reservation, we ended up waiting up front a while for a table--and there's no good place to wait, you're pretty much in the staff's way no matter what. But we eventually got seated--at a table that rocked a little next to two women who were talking inordinately loud! (The whole restaurant is a bit loud, I'd say, which makes conversation a bit trying.) But despite the noise and the brief wait--the food was great and we enjoyed the whole thing. We split a nice bottle of wine, my house salad with a goat cheese crouton was delicious--and he enjoyed his rather adventurous choice of a beef heart salad. The entrees were both really good (I got fish and he got a stacked vegetarian thing with portabello mushrooms, etc. etc.) We split creme brule for dessert.
Anyway, thanks again for the recommendation! It all worked out!