Speed dates with a plate

Speed Plating, the latest way to meet singles, is tastier than any speed-date event that's come before—and a little slower.

Speed Plating, the latest way to meet singles, is tastier than any speed-date event that's come before—and a little slower. Created by celebrity chef Danny Boome, this biweekly hook-up party (Tree, 190 First Ave between 11th and 12th Sts; 212-358-7171, speedplating.com, speeddate.com; Tue 14 at 7:30pm; $100) incorporates a four-course, aphrodisiac-based meal into the basic concept of speed dating, where you meet a handful of strangers for one-on-one chats. Each couple gets 20 minutes to bond, while the food serves as both nourishment and icebreaker. "You instantly have something to talk about," says Boome. "Even if you don't meet anyone, at least you had a good time." Champagne cocktails, beer and wine lubricate the evening, and participants don't find it hard to get into the groove. "I think it's great because New Yorkers love food and drink," says Trina, 35, a newcomer to speed dating who attended the premiere event in August. "I like that they are putting a traditional spin on nontraditional dating."

Boome created the menu for hosting restaurant Tree, where chef Jared Lozupone executes the plates for 40 participants. Over the course of about two and half hours, daters are served dishes such as pan-seared scallops and banana-hazelnut-chocolate crepes. The daters are paired by chance, and during a sensory course, women are blindfolded and fed by their new companion. Each dater sits with four singles, though everyone has time to mingle after the meal over drinks. At the end of the evening, the participants hand in cards with their contact information for potential suitors. "It went better than I thought," says Mike, 27, another first-timer at speed dating. "It's a little bit of a shock, but I would do it again."

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