My girlfriend and I are visiting later this year and want to book two no-holds-barred meals. Specifically, we're interested in tasting menus that offer innovative and exciting cuisine with thoughtful wine pairings, but without a stuffy old-boys-club atmosphere (we're in our late 20's) or over-reliance on gratuitous El Bulli-esque experimentation (MiniBar in DC has that covered).
If it helps, a few benchmark establishments we have previously enjoyed are: Aqua (SF), Sona (LA), WD-50 (NY), CityZen (DC), and Charlie Trotter's (Chicago).
I've already consulted previous posts on this board and, thanks in large part to the wonderful info provided, have arrived at this short-list: Mistral, Lampreia, Cascadia, and Union.
I'd greatly appreciate any further thoughts or recent experiences you might share related to those four and/or others that might fit the bill.