Best Restaurant for a First Date

La Rustica

If one were to Weird Science a slew of optimal first-date characteristics into one restaurant, West Seattle's cozy La Rustica would be it. Let's start with the style of cuisine: Italian, perhaps the most agreeable of them all. There's an endless supply of free, hot focaccia that will come to your table for that portion of the date when you want to keep the alcohol from going to your head, and plenty of hard liquor for later, when things stand to get a little, um, looser. There's a patio for when it's warm, and a back room for drink-sipping when there's a wait. There's a sunset view of Puget Sound, and a very good selection of pasta dishes priced in the teens. But best of all, La Rustica boasts such a unique location (around the bend from Alki Point) that simply stopping the car in front of it will make your date consider you a person of considerable geographical intellect. And nothing gets the drawers dropped like a big, hard . . . brain. MIKE SEELY 4100 Beach Dr. S.W., 932-3020,

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