At L20, we had the "luxury" tasting menu - how can that qualifier not make you snort quietly to yourself? - with the wine pairings. Looking back, I feel like something was missing. The food and wine were spectacular, and given my pescatarian status, about as perfect a match as I could dream up. But the space felt somehow blank (sorry Dirk Denison, I still adore you for this) and the service was...flat and technical. Maybe it was all the beige decor and grey suits.
Comparatively, I still remember the NoMi experience vividly and how our waiter was so adept at conducting our meal while we talked about food and wine throughout the night, I wanted him to sit down for dessert. He joked that he was morose that I wouldn't take any of his recommendations. He sent over the sommelier to chat about Charbono even though our bottle was far from luxury status by their standards. He gave us his card at the end and said he would love it if we asked for him on our next visit. In short, we had an interactive experience that was, um, several hundred dollars less than L20 and somehow much more gratifying.
I would love to tell you how the L20 night stacked up against our visit to Alinea, but we were with several of our wine industry friends that night. So I actually have no recollection of the service at all. Just a lot of amazing food and laughter.