Considering your Chow-name, you might have tried izakaya food and may have enjoyed it. A much more highly stylized version of "small plates" experience where terms like quality, focus and skill are tied to relevance, immediacy and intimacy. You may have considered either kappo or koryori-ya style cuisine as well, which can be similar to if not exactly like a tasting menu, particularly if the place offers kaiseki. You have? You want it? Well, (here we go again:)) check out this monster post from Exilekiss...
I've really enjoyed the "art" of the tasting menu at SONA.
So many random things that I would never had thought of putting together worked out great.
EX: Fois gras (how do you spell it), aspic, and creame fraiche parfait as a dessert. It was amazing..along with everyhting else we had.
I've also really enjoyed HATFIELDS (a few fun quirky things)
and of course BASHAN. Their amuses are always a delight!