Moto is often compared to Alinea, and though it doesn’t quite rise to the same level of culinary accomplishment, it may just be more fun. Chef Homaro Cantu’s Wikipedia page describes his occupation as “inventor,” and it’s clear that he's definitely not afraid to play with his food.
The Moto environment is surprisingly muted with a standard palette of dark leather and hardwood. Servers are somber and respectful. The tasting menu, though, is anything but ($175 pretax and tip). This multicourse lineup changes frequently, but usually starts with some variant of an edible preview of what’s to come. You’ll most certainly see freeze-dried produce, foams, creams and sous-vide meat. But you'll remember the little extras the most—clouds of cold smoke arising from an aquarium, a hollowed-out log filled with syrup you tap yourself, a cheese course served on a bed of artificial grass with a picnic blanket.
Paired with excellent wines, meals at Moto are a playful experience. Portion sizes are small and the gimmicks aren't for everyone, but if you’re in the right frame of mind, this is one restaurant you shouldn’t miss.