Remember when innovation took the form of a little garlic whipped into the butter, fusion was pineapple on a pizza, and all the whimsy you got was folded inside a fortune cookie? Dahlia Lounge changed all that. There, Tom Douglas's unique brand of culinary effrontery was foreshadowed in its vermillion walls, gilt brocades, and paper lanterns. There, seafood wasn't just served, it was revered: items like lush raw sashimi and ceviches, caramelly black cod, often a piece of perfect local salmon. There, the skilled irreverence in the kitchen made for the kind of brazen pairings that would later be called fusion—and helped pave the way for the recent upmarket embrace of doughnuts and cupcakes. (See Dahlia coconut cream pie.) Indeed, Douglas's influence has been so pervasive in this town that you may wonder if Dahlia is a standout—and it is, mostly. Erratic performance that may plague dinners rarely ruins them; crowds—who lend this place a sensational urban buzz—are still in mad pursuit. The private room seats up to 50.