Just like bringing a vegan to a steakhouse, or a bathing suit to the Arctic, not every destination has been created to serve every individual. Chef Grant Achatz recently suggested via Twitter (@Gachatz), while a young baby was crying during his restaurant's service, to not allow small children into his upscale establishment where patrons could pay an average of $250 a person, as well as wait many months in advance for a table. (ABC Chicago report)
Alinea, located at 1723 North Halsted, has three Michelin stars and is rated as one of the world's best restaurants, as well as the only three star restaurant in Chicago. There are no children's menus, no crayons or coloring books to play with, and no booster seats available. To put it bluntly, this is not a restaurant to bring kids to.
Even though an age restriction is not in place for Alinea, it would seem that common sense would jump in and provide all the context clues that this is not an acceptable place for children. If you can afford the high price tag and handle the many month long wait for a table, we can only assume you can afford a sitter for the night. This seems to be a case of the prestigious assuming money can buy anything, which hopefully will be put in check.
An age-restriction in high end restaurants would most likely be a warm welcome for many patrons. Your child has not developed the keen sense of taste yet to even fully appreciate the experience he or she may have while dining at Alinea. There are hundreds of other options who cater to, and promote kids menus, which means the customers will expect that type of atmosphere.
If you feel that your screaming child, in one of the worlds greatest restaurants, is not a big deal...then maybe feeding him the Black Truffle Explosion along with 17 other items for $210 is a prime example of bad parenting on an elitist level.