At the forefront of the groundbreaking molecular gastronomy movement, Alinea offers meals that are quite simply unlike any others. Dedicated followers eagerly await chef Grant Achatz’s scrupulously deconstructed innovations, which are always as delicious as they are surprising: venison is served atop a pillow of scented air; tiny spheres explode with familiar flavors in the mouth; and bite-size courses of sweet potato and bacon are served on a spike. The staff, as expertly choreographed as the Bolshoi Ballet, instructs patrons on how to eat the exquisitely constructed and artfully presented concoctions (the serving ware is created by an accomplished sculptor), while offering hints as to ingredients. Although this is clearly a temple to experimental cuisine, the atmosphere in the elegantly converted, dramatically lit town house is decidedly laid-back. You won’t find starchy waiters or icy attitude here, where all that’s required is an interest in extraordinary dining and an open mind.