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Date Lab
Can this widower lobby his way to date No. 2?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

7:30 P.M., CHARLIE PALMER STEAK, CAPITOL HILL

Michelle: I think my assistant was more nervous than I was. She's the one who coaxed me into doing Date Lab. But I'd never been to Charlie Palmer's, so that was exciting.

Kevin: I've been several times. They don't have a corkage fee for domestic wine, so I stopped by early and dropped off a really nice bottle, a Dalla Valle 1993 cabernet called Maya. I don't think it's appropriate [to say how much it costs]. [Editor's note: We have no such qualms. The bottle easily goes for more than $400 -- if you can find it.] I returned at 7:30. Michelle and I got there within 30 seconds of each other.

Michelle: Kevin had a great smile. He just lit up. I'm usually attracted to taller people, but, that said, I have an open mind. We sat down, and from the get-go he was very engaging.

Kevin: Definitely the smile, the glint in the eye, the personality just popped immediately. I've never dated a brunette before, but it's been a long time since I've dated. A natural conversation flowed from law school and careers. She'd just gone to Napa, so that led to a conversation about how we both like to cook.

Michelle: He had this great maturity and confidence without being self-consumed. And he was very much a gentleman. Kobe beef was on the menu; it's $85. I mentioned it, like, isn't that the premier steak? Kevin said, "Michelle, we have $125 [from The Post]. Why don't you order it?" That was so gracious, like he wanted my enjoyment to be a priority. But I don't think any steak is worth $100.

Kevin: We ended up getting a porterhouse for two. About halfway through the conversation, it was natural for me to tell her about my background: I'm a widower, and I have a daughter. She was very generous, as most people are when they hear about a loss.

Michelle: In the real world, if I met someone who knocked my socks off and then found out he has a child, it wouldn't be a problem. But in a blind date forum, you're more picky. I'm just not sure how I feel about it. We may be at different places in our lives right now. It was a Monday, and, after dessert, 10:30 p.m. or so. I'm an early-to-bed kind of person, so that was a natural conclusion.

Kevin: There was no one at the valet, so I went inside and got the keys for her. She tried to tip me. That was spontaneous, very cute. I'd rate the date a 4 out of 5. We had a great time. I definitely plan on getting together with her as long as she's interested. But those things are two-way streets. I'll follow her lead.

Michelle: I'd rate the date a 4. Romantically, I didn't feel it, but he is a great guy -- warm, gracious, smart, ambitious, seems like he has his life in order. I'd without a doubt set him up. To me, that's the biggest compliment.

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

UPDATE: Michelle and Kevin have e-mailed about taking a cooking class together. When we dropped the cost of the wine, she said: "Holy [maracas], that blows my mind . . . He wasn't pompous about it at all. He's such a great guy."

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