After a series of dates with random guys that started with "I dunno. Where do you wanna go for dinner?" it was refreshing for once to hear a man say, "Just look pretty. I'll take care of the plans."
I did my part, putting on the LBD (that's Little Black Dress for those of you who are in a fashion void), platinum gladiator heels, and a full face of makeup. And, thankfully, my redheaded date also did his part, taking me to a great little date spot in Delray Beach known as Cut 432.
Now I had recently been wined and dined
at Steak 954
, so my bar was already set pretty high for steak houses in South Florida with numerical designations. But I could plainly see that some world-famous restaurateur didn't own this petite joint, so I was prepared to cut it some slack.
My date seemed to know the founder and erroneously told him I was a food critic for the Miami Herald. (Note to you future dates: Don't tell any of the restaurant staff that I am a food critic. Not only will they not give you a free meal but typically the servers will become so nervous that they'll check on the table every five minutes.) Just the same, we still had to wait for seats, so we perched at the bar and looked over the menu. The entire thing was only one page long, which, at first, seemed a disappointment until I realized that the chef had done a masterful job of being succinct: four cuts of steak, one veal chop, one hamburger, six fish dishes, one lamb, one chicken, one veal, and the occasional short rib or prime rib. Whatever protein I could possibly desire was represented.
Judging by the way my date kept staring at my legs as he downed a glass of ZD
, a pinot noir, I was pretty sure he saw the protein he desired too.
But my focus was squarely on the menu, where I took my sweet time debating which slab of beef I should conquer (after all, this was a steak house) and what I would prep my palate with first. The grilled cheese appetizer charmed me, touting truffled gouda with bits of short rib and a side of heirloom tomato soup. I let out a tiny gleeful sound when my date agreed to share it. Seems it doesn't take much to please me nowadays.
Though it was a bit weird sharing a cup of soup with someone who was no more than a stranger an hour prior, the tangy tomato flavor and accompanying buttered sandwich bites were delish. And so was the chilled shrimp appetizer, comprising four big ol' suckers with a citrus-tinged cocktail sauce.
While waiting for the eight-ounce filet that we agreed to split, I checked out the eclectic interior. The whole resto was long and narrow, made to look more expansive by a mirrored wall that ran the length of the dining room. A few crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and seemingly a few hundred wine bottles lined the walls. Kudos to the designers for making this ordinary space an interesting mix of industrial, modern, and classical. Me and my outfit fit right in.
Unfortunately, it was a bit too lively inside for much intimate conversation, but that didn't stop my date from playing Kinsey
and quizzing me about my sexual preferences. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, I was warned that carrottops can be a mischievous, horny bunch.
I dodged as many questions as I could, then finally jokingly asked him what it would take to shut him up. He pretended like he couldn't hear me until I leaned in a bit closer. And, true to form, he kissed me. Guess that's one redhead who knew how to make the cut.
Cut 432 is located at 432 E. Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach. Call 561-272-9898, or visit cut432.com.
Freelance writer Riki Altman eats everything that won't try and eat her first (with exceptions, of course) and dates younger men, older men, and older men who act like young men, along with locals, tourists, illegal aliens, and just plain aliens. Love Bites is a compilation of what happens when her dining and dating ordeals collide. Sometimes, it just ain't pretty.