Fine dining can mean different things to different people. For me I look for impeccable service, inviting atmosphere, high quality ingredients, and innovative food.
We recently tried L'espalier in Boston to celebrate Greg's birthday. Unfortunately, the dinner was almost a complete letdown. I made a reservation noting the celebration as well as my dairy allergy. The day before our reservation we called to confirm my dairy allergy. The staff member noted our reservation and clarified that I couldn't eat any dairy (including butter and goat's milk cheese). An hour later another staff member called to confirm our reservation and our dairy allergy but didn't ask any questions this time.
We arrived on time for our reservation, checked my coat, and were shown to our table. Our waiter came over to welcome us and again asked if I could eat butter. That would be a no. We opted for a bottle of wine and the chef's tasting menu (our preference is always a chef's tasting or an Omakase).
The inconsistencies in service and food prep, along with the lack of high-quality ingredients (note that it is truffle season) left us disappointed and we wouldn't return.