Champagne in Dixie Cups. Pancakes Flecked With Gold. Fine Dining Gets Fun Again.

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At these hot-ticket restaurants, passé pretentiousness is off the menu, and the prevailing mood is party. By March 18, 2023 12:00 am ET Pineapple & Pearls was, by any measure, a resounding success.

The restaurant opened seven years ago in Washington, D.C., to rave reviews from local critics; diners lined up for chef-owner Aaron Silverman’s playfully elegant tasting menu of a dozen or more courses. A year in, the Michelin Guide awarded it a coveted two stars. Which is why I was surprised to learn that Mr. Silverman had burned the whole concept to the ground and started from scratch.

And so was reborn last May as something rather rare in today’s fine-dining landscape: a place where the operative principle is that everyone, at all times, should be having a blast. Still unquestionably high-end, it charges $345 per person before beverages, tax or a service charge. But the hourslong tasting-menu has left the building.

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