Amy Laurent is sort of like that guy from the Hair Club for Men, except, you know, much prettier and not bald. But not only is she the president of Amy Laurent International she's also sort of a former client. Amy Laurent International, or ALI, is an upscale matchmaking service with offices on both coasts, that Amy started nine years ago in California after one disappointing matchmaking experience experience after another. Amy moved from LA to New York more than two years to head up the NYC office.
Of course, most of her attention goes to making love connections like her name was Chuck Woolery, but she's also there with advice after the right connection is made. Dating in the City is not easy, everyone knows this, and first dates, whether matchmaker arranged or not, can be nerve racking. She recommends dinner at someplace trendy ('but not too trendy — if you pick a hopping place, it might be too much"). "Dark places, that are romantic," she says. Some of her go to spots are Charlie Palmer's Aureole, Wakiya at the Gramercy Park Hotel, BLT Market, and Daniel and Bar Boulud. "On the first date," Amy says, "It doesn't have to be someplace insanely expensive. Just put some thought into it."
Amy has this to say about her local restaurant picks:
Wakiya at the Gramercy Park Hotel: "This dining experience is ideal for fun/romantic dates since it has a romantic atmosphere of dim lighting and red sex appeal/ color schemes that were used to create that kind of ambience. service is impeccable and it has a feeling somewhat of a club yet is not loud or noisy to where you do not feel able to connect with your date. It's a great balance of fun, romance and sexiness."
Cipriani: "If you want to impress your date with a luxurious, stylish dining experience this is the way to go when it comes to Italian cuisine. Cipriani will express to someone you have great taste as well as the desire to enjoy fine dining together in a high end atmosphere."
BLT Market: "Both BLT Market and BLT Prime are wonderful date places that serve extraordinary food. The lighting is dim, the dining rooms are cozy as well as romantic and the wine list is impressive."
Aureole: Sophisticated dining is what one will find at this restaurant. It has warm, natural lighting with a golden lamp glow. Ideal for a couple wanting a romantic, quiet place to get to know each other. It also is upscale.
Daniel: "This choice is for daters who want to go all the way in fine dining. It is one of the more formal choices but is something both can enjoy if they prefer this kind of experience in food and wine. The dining room is glamorous and it's wait staff entirely professional. It is a fun place for a traditional, dramatic and elegant dining experience."
Her other top tips for getting to the second date (or at least making the most of the one):
2. Do put thought into how you are dressed. Make the effort, and it's always nice for many men to see women wear a skirt or dress rather than slacks or jeans these days.
3. Do not talk excessively about your prior relationships, even when probed. Do ask your date questions about her interests, family, hobbies to get the conversation running both ways.
4. Do show up on time, or at the very least call your date should you be more than 5 minutes late.
5. Do not drink excessively since first impressions are everything.
6. Do have a sense of humor, and be able to show you can carry on serious conversations as well as light ones. Do not use sarcasm to the point of overkill.
7. Do intend to have fun on any date you go on even if it turns out to be someone you would only see yourself friends with. Have a great attitude and learn from every experience you have with people. Enjoy!