Some dates are sweet. You go to a nice restaurant with lacy tablecloths, order food that won’t make your breath stink later, have polite conversation while shyly catching each other’s eye over the rim of your wine glass, and hold hands tentatively as you walk to the car, wondering if you’ll share a delicate kiss before you part ways for the night. But these aren’t usually the dates I want. More often, I like my dates down and dirty, boozy and bawdy, or, at the very least, out of the ordinary. I want to be either seduced by the cuisine or seduced by my company, but either way, I want my evening out to get me off. Here are some date destinations that are a guaranteed sure thing.
You can’t talk about food and sex and San Francisco without talking about this SoMa phenomenon. The food is good the crab cakes are more crab than filler, and the beef in the steak salad was good quality but the real reason you’re here is the drag show, though "drag show" is an anemic phrase for describing what you’ll see. This swanky spot features some of the hottest women this side of the Y chromosome (or Thailand) and some of the best dramatic performances this side of the Fringe Festival. My personal favorite? Red-haired Ginger, who downed a liter of Grey Goose and a bottle of "pills" while lip-syncing to "All by Myself." Pair her performance with the mint-heavy pomegranate mojito, and you’ll find yourself trying to take her home at the end of the night. (Note: She won’t go she has a beau.)
201 Ninth St., SF. (415) 255-2742, www.asiasf.com
You know those fantasies you have about being royalty in some foreign country while you seduce your polite, well-mannered, yet kinky lover-to-be over a plate of something steamy? This is the place you want to do it. The main dining room isn’t much to look at, but get a reservation for the Fantasy Room and you’ll find yourself in a private, beaded booth with cucumber-infused drinking water, warm towels scented with rose water, and Indian food served more elegantly than you ever imagined it could be (think geometric plates and California cuisine<\d>style garnishes). The prix-fixe menu is a bit overpriced, but the Kama Sutra cocktail really is titilutf8g. And there’s something to be said for having control over your own lights and playing shoeless footsy under your private table.
1122 Post, SF. (415) 775-1988, www.maharanirestaurant.com
OVATION AT THE INN AT THE OPERA
San Francisco does dive bars, and does them well. But this city also does sexy elegance in a way that’s particularly ours, and Ovation is a perfect example. This hotel restaurant is opulent and classically romantic, with green velvet chairs and white tablecloths and entrées that cost more than most parking tickets. But in true Bay Area style, it’s also accessible, comfortable, and beautiful in an understated way all of which make it sneakily sexy. The small, intimate bar grounds the dining room, and a fireplace warms the dignified décor, which might otherwise seem cold and baroque. Plus, is there anything hotter than illicit bathroom sex when you’re all dressed up?
333 Fulton, SF. (415) 553-8100
WOODHOUSE FISH CO.
I’m not sure I understand the appeal of oysters. I’ve trained myself to like them, especially with a bit of horseradish and ketchup. But are they really an aphrodisiac? Is it because of their obvious resemblance to female body parts? Or is it because you know that if your date can handle their mucusy texture and fishy flavor, they surely can handle, uh, yours? I can’t begin to guess. I prefer the sides of broccoli and fries (both well made) over the seafood at this joint in the Safeway district. But there’s one thing I find truly sexy about Woodhouse oysters: on Tuesday nights, they’re $1 apiece. Which means that after filling up, there’s still enough cash for a shot of tequila at the Transfer and coffee in the morning. And what’s sexier than shellfish? A date that doesn’t break the bank.
2073 Market, SF. (415) 473-CRAB, www.woodhousefish.com
Dinner in bed? It’s almost too obvious. But you can’t deny the appeal of overt sexuality, even if it’s delivered in a stylized, sometimes-too-LA package. The all-white dining room at this dinner-as-experience destination is striking, and I’ve rarely tasted food so delicious and subtle particularly the vegetarian options as it is here. And whether it was watching a tranny strip down, without fanfare or theatricality, to his bald, tattooed, masculine self, or whether it was the Late Night Sneaky I ordered (top-shelf tequila, a Corona, and an ExportA cigarette in a shot glass), or whether it was just settling into the couch cushions as my dirty martini settled into my bloodstream, it was hard to wait to jump my date until we got home.
657 Harrison, SF. (415) 348-0900, www.supperclub.com*