I turned a quarter century last week. I feel pretty much exactly the same, but for the occasion, my boyfriend took me to a fancy restaurant, so for a little while, I did feel special. He surprised me with a date at
(106 N Guadalupe St., 820-2075), a cute, vine-covered adobe that I’d often walked past and wondered about but either didn’t have the money—entrees range from $20-$66, with a Sunday dinner special for $19—or a second person to eat with. I assumed the place is called Dinner For Two for a reason.
We had a 7 pm reservation, and when we arrived, the restaurant was less full than I’d expected. We had our choice of tables, and decided on a quiet, window-lined corner in what looked like it may once have been a porch or a sunroom. The low lights, dark colors and wall of windows that let in the drizzly evening light reminded Justin of the inside of a ship. I later realized he was thinking of Titanic the movie (he’s a boy; it came out when he was in middle school...he liked the nude scene).
Dinner For Two is family-owned, and our server was very kind. He seemed to sympathize with how much of a novelty fine dining is for us. We were served the most delicious bread I’ve tried in a long time: a hot, round loaf, just the right size for two people. The crust is crispy and the inside is soft and light. I ordered a glass of cabernet sauvignon ($8) and Justin drank a Stone IPA ($5) out of a fluted glass. We toasted to my birthday. Surviving another year is always a nice surprise.
The food is overwhelmingly delicious; I had trouble choosing what to order. For Justin, there was no question: a 12-ounce, locally raised and grass-fed steak ($34), cooked medium, with mashed potatoes; thin, frizzled onions; and homemade, spicy BBQ sauce. Our waiter helped me decide on the white bean potage and a soup. Their soups change periodically, but on my birthday, it was a cherry-ginger puree—chilled, fuchsia-colored and amazing. Between the bread and the soup, I felt like an angel dining in heaven (a feeling that’s pretty much the best birthday present ever). If I could, I’d drink that soup every morning for breakfast, or take it to a desert island and eat it for the rest of my life.
The potage (pronounced, I learned, “ poh-tahj ”; $20) is a perfect summertime meal. The white beans are buttery-smooth, and the basil, picked fresh from the owner’s garden, infuses the juice of fresh yellow tomatoes, which becomes a broth for the beans and chunks of soft mozzarella. I ate every last bite. Never mind the soup; I’d take chef Andy Barnes to my island.
Around the time we became full, Justin turned to me and, in his best impression of Kate Winslet, said: “Draw me like one of your French girls.” Apparently, the above-mentioned nude scene was on his mind all through dinner. That, or he started to believe we were on what a young, ace reporter Joey Peters once called the Tit-tanic . At this point, we were the only two in the restaurant, and Justin started singing Celine Dion’s theme song (to be fair, I did join in on the song and, no, we were not drunk). Delicious food and serenades: this must be what it’s like to live the dream.
We were too full to try any dessert, but Justin taught me his trick for remembering the difference between desert and dessert: two ss’s because you want more dessert, but not more desert—you learn something new every birthday. We shared a complimentary birthday glass of framboise dessert wine, and Justin learned a new French word because the liqueur really did taste just like a raspberry.
We left happy, with full bellies and a lighter wallet, and now my heart will go on and on ...Just kidding. But I am looking forward to turning a half-century if it means another Dinner For Two.
106 N Guadalupe St., 820-2075
Dinner 4-9 pm daily
Live classical music Friday-Sunday 7-9 pm