First Date and Orso

Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez meet cute
The zesty and fluffy new musical comedy, First Date, takes the audience on a date 2013 style. Aaron and Casey struggle to drop their baggage and be present. Are they prisoners of their personal histories and past dating patterns? A Greek chorus pops by and plays devil's advocate, made up of Grandma, the bail-out friend, therapist, bad choice boyfriend, selfish ex-fiancée, and future son.

Zachary Levi is jumpy and awkward as a financial geek. It's a good set-up for his kick ass end-of-the-show song "In Love With You" where he kisses off his ex- for good. Adorable Krysta Rodriguez is polished and cold. She's hiding, but slowly lets us in. Both have great pop vocal chops and got their start in television. We root for them, and the happy ending feels right and, well, if Terry Teachout was charmed by this new little musical, after what he had to say about Kinky Boots, who are we to quibble?

Fig tart à la Orso
Italian restaurant Orso is named after a street dog the owner befriended in Venice. There is an Orso photo collage as you enter and a very nice sketch near the bar. The atmosphere is fresh, modern and quiet, a restaurant novelty in NYC. Music is kept on low dial and the tables are nicely distanced from one another. Tableware is colorful and house wine is served in pretty glass pitchers.

Get your pasta here, but another specialty, calf's liver with pancetta and crispy onions, was a standout. Roasted quail stuffed with sweet sausage, pine nuts and broccoli rabe was another. Antipasti greats were the beet, Jersey peach, hazelnut and goat cheese salad, and pan-fried artichoke hearts. Dessert tarts ended our date on a sweet note.