I really would rather have a first date as quickly as comfortably possible after making written contact. I don't answer/write to people who have short or nonexistent profiles, so if we're talking then I already have a high interest.
What I tend to do is this: A long walk somewhere for icebreaking. The ocean, an easy hiking trail, off a short pier. This should be enough time to see if the person is right. After that, we can do anything, typically dinner if we're still interested, as long as everything I ask you isn't "I don't know." (That was long date, for sure)