Planning a trip to Chicago for July (als and really have my sights set on Alinea--for those that have been:
1)how far in advance can you make reservations?
2) Are they accommodating to nut allergies? (not all, but some)
3) Average bill amount? Is there a wine pairing that you must partake in or do they offer wines by the glass?
1 - Reservations can be made on the first day of each month for two months in advance. So, if you want to make a reservation for any date in August, the book opens on June 1.
2 - They are extremely accommodating of all food allergies/restrictions. Definitely mention your concerns when you call to make a reservation
3 - The Tour (the larger of the 2 menus) is $195. The Tasting is (I think) $145. You don't have to do wine pairings, but if you want standard pairings I believe the price is set at 2/3 the price of whatever menu you are doing. You can also upgrade pairings on some or all courses. The most I've seen for wine pairings there is equal to the cost of the food (so for the Tour you would pay $390 for food and wine). I'm sure you can also just do by the glass (but I never have).
A word on the wine pairing...
When I went (and did the Tour) they offered us the wine pairing and priced it based on how much we drank. I don't like dessert wine... they offered me a different white wine... and when i had had enough, they stopped pouring. And my pairing was a good $40-$50 cheaper than my boyfriend's, who drank everything they offered.
You will love it. The food is out of this world but the service is equally stunning. Attentive, not intrusive, and no snootiness.