No perfect date night can be pulled off without planning, but a visit to Schwa is well worth the preparations required. First, secure a reservation far in advance. With just 26 seats and a reputation as one of the most cutting-edge restaurants in the country, the place books up fast. Next, realize what you’re getting into. Named after the neutral unstressed vowel “ə” that reflects chef Michael Carlson’s pared-down approach to food, Schwa specializes in molecular gastronomy, deconstructing and reimagining ingredients to uncover exciting new flavors. You won’t find any waiters or support staff, as the chefs do all the work, cooking and serving a seasonal nine-course tasting menu to an eager crowd of adventurous foodies. Finally, since Schwa is BYOB, pick up your personal favorite libation—along with a liquid tip for the chefs—before you arrive. Okay, now you’re ready, so take your sweetheart by the hand and enter a minimalistic space where culinary magic happens. Once the food starts emerging from the kitchen, quirky flavor combinations will delight and confound your taste buds, causing you and your date to reconsider foods you’ve eaten for years. The music rises as inventive dishes like pizza cotton candy, apple pie soup, and tiger fish with carrot and marshmallow come served with a side of Wu-Tang Clan and The Ramones. By the time it’s over, you’ll have traveled around the culinary world, eager to come back another day to see what they’ll think of next.