4 Dates, 2 Expert Opinions

Choosing a date spot. It's a decision riddled with anxiety and the potential for unintended subliminal messages. Too fancy too soon? Whoa, fella, ease up. Too cheesy? Better hope your personality compensates.

To help you navigate the tricky restaurant choice landscape, I've teamed up with dating expert and super witty blogger Meredith Fineman of TheFFJD to offer four date scenarios and plenty of perfect options. 

On TheFFJD, Meredith chronicles her endless pursuit for a Jewish gentleman caller, the philosophy behind jeggings, and why Boo the dog should be Speaker of the House (I dare you not to laugh out loud). 

We've got you covered for any upcoming love connections:

The First Date

Meredith says:
• Drinks at Bar Dupont. I love this spot. It might be the ultimate young singles bar in DC. I can't count on all of my fingers and toes how many JDates I've gone on here. The only problem is there's a 90 percent chance you'll run into a friend and/or someone else on a first date.

• Dinner at Masa 14. I just love this place. I'm a sucker for the spicy tuna and eel handrolls. There are lots of fun small plates to share, the atmosphere is vibrant and trendy. I also love that it's always packed — if you're on an awkward first date I actually think it's good to have people around. If you're bored, scan the room for cute boys.

• Brunch at Blue Duck Tavern. Knocks it out of the park. Pricey, but worth it. If it's warm I also love the big chairs outside to sit in and pretend you live in the country and not in the middle of a city. Until a police car drives by.

Amanda says: 
To offset the potential for awkward silence or premature intimacy, you need a good lively vibe. My picks would be Estadio, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Toki Underground, Graffiato, Passenger. I always like Comet Ping Pong, in case you need to determine your date's athletic abilities. And whether you're just having drinks or eating, sitting at a bar is always a safe bet. The bartender can play wingman if things go horribly awry.

The Third Date

Meredith says: 
Estadio — best gin drink in town. I also love small plates, and sharing. I think that's always nice on a date. It's intimate and always hopping. Clearly I'm a sucker for 14th Street.

Amanda says: 
You think you like each other so it's time to raise the stakes, maybe plonk down a little more cash than the first date. And find a quieter spot than the first date. Little Serow would be my No. 1 pick (just make sure your date likes spice!). More good choices to move the ball forward: Bibiana, BLT Steak, Cork, Proof, Rasika and Vermilion.

The Group Date

Meredith says: 
Ardeo/Bardeo — Amazing pizzas and other appetizers. They redid the space, and Cleveland Park can be a fun getaway for a group. Hit Atomic after for a low-key drink and billiards.

Sticky Rice — H Street is just so fun. Sticky Rice is probably the best-priced sashimi I've seen in the city, and I dig the kitschy vibe. There are also lots of places to go with the group after. Since it's not as pricey for Asian, it makes splitting the bill easier.

Amanda says: 
Whether you're seeking safety in numbers or simply a night out with good friends, I love the lounge at The Source since it's big enough to accomodate a spontaneous party. Churchkey is also a good bet if you can snag a few tables and mill around a little. I also love the communal table at Zaytinya.

The Break-up

Meredith says:
If someone broke up with me in public, I would order the most expensive item to go. You should never break up in a public location!! That being said, Taylor Gourmet take-out breakfast sammiches for crying over. They're DELICIOUS. Taste better with tears (just kidding).

Amanda says:
What Meredith said. No breaking up in public! But if you must, treat it like advance work for presidential security, Map out the easiest exits and potential threats, like pitcher drinks. No one wants a pitcher drink on their heads. In fact, let's keep it all out in the open and try a food truck for this one. You'll have already paid when the subject comes up, so you can both split quickly.

Need more dating help? Find Meredith on Twitt er @theffjd.