ah hum, <raises hand> there, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas and LA.Don't get me wrong, I'm no snob, just have better expectations. I absolutely enjoy throwing off the helmet, trying to fix my hair and I walk into a place in shorts and flip-flops. But the experience of true high end dining is worth every penny. Many here will simply not appreciate it, it's not for everyone.
If the average person here tried to get into any number of places in NYC, they'd never make it past the front door.
fine dining doesn't mean stuffed shirt. The key is fresh, local produce, prepared for you, not off a steam table, served buffet style.
Granted most places a cut above don't want you looking like you just came off the boat. But clean, (business) casual attire works most places.
Maybe a blazer.