Bespoke’s home for imaginary boyfriends

As we sat down to our friend date on the rooftop patio of Bespoke, we looked at each other and immediately wished the other were a boy. With botanical chandeliers hanging above us and sultry Spanish music pervading the dusk air, we knew this could only be better if a young man were sitting across from us, feasting on ceviche and sipping on the chilled $26 white wine we’d ordered in a moment of weakness.

Despite the lack of males at our table for two, Bespoke’s patio made for a lovely evening. We emerged from the modern, metallic depths of this restaurant only to find ourselves in a garden only humans — and supremely talented Mexican fusion chefs — could create. Lights hung from a canopy. Wooden benches and angular white armchairs stood around, invitingly. And Astroturf covered the ground.

(We also saw our managing editor and editor-in-chief there, probably wishing they had real dates too.)

There was something very New York about the patio, a cinematic quality to the brownstone buildings that peeked out from behind the canopy. If you want, you can imagine on Bespoke’s patio that you are in a scene from “Manhattan.” Of course, you are actually in New Haven, but the illusion is alluring. Just like the illusion that you are in fact on a date.

While we were tempted to lounge around sipping on our white wine — did we mention it was $26? — we thought we’d better order some food. The restaurant serves its full dinner menu up on the patio, but we decided to choose from their collection of small plates and appetizers.

To start, we ordered the ceviche duo, two selections of calamari, fish and shrimp, in a sweet and tangy marinade. The seafood arrived in a metal boat, filled with ice and mysteriously sprinkled with popcorn. (The popcorn did become useful when we ran out of Bespoke’s warm white bread and needed another carb to soak up the succulent sauces before us.) After leaving the realm of the citrusy (as our white wine-peddling waitress called it) we split a plate of chino latino — that’s a pulled pork spring roll to you — and black bean ravioli served with huge chunks of lobster on top. Unfortunately, the small plates are rather small; we were given precisely two raviolis and two spring rolls. Shocking though that revelation was, we didn’t care. We were already smitten.

As darkness set upon us and candle flames illuminated each table, we moved on to dessert: a molten flourless chocolate mini-cake, with berries and vanilla gelato, and the chocolate banana semi-fredo with caramel gelato. Although it tasted like both chocolate and banana, we’re still not quite sure what it was — besides, you know, magical.

It was a memorable night, with or without boys — though it was a little date-like when we shared a mojito at the end of our meal. The patio will be open until the weather turns cold, so, men of Yale, that gives you some time. Come find us.

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