My friends have told me that if I have a special ability for food and wine, it is not some gifted palate nor is it a deft hand in the kitchen, rather it is the treatment I receive in restaurants in spite of the fact that I am basically destitute financially and not particularly good looking or well connected. The best I can sum up the treatment they refer to is the treatment restaurants give their regular customers, and it is achievable from your first visit to any good restaurant (a good place being one with a vision and a mission beyond making money.) This is a series of the behaviors I see as natural that some do not.
Respect the knowledge and skill of your server. Professional servers in fine restaurants are not out-of-work actors. Although restaurant work is fantastic transient labor for people in more freelance fields, at this level of service it is an actual vocation and people are well compensated for it. As a result, most of your servers want to be right where they are. They have probably tasted better wine than you ever will and have been exposed to far more chefs' philosophies and food than you have from watching the Food Channel and reading the intro to Mario's Holiday Cookbook. Take advantage of this; seek out their views on what is not to be missed during your experience at this place. Opening a dialogue with your servers will educate you and make them far more likely to look out for your good time.
If you make this attempt and you find that you have a nitwit suggesting things only at the high end of the menu, or the servers don't seem to have an approach receptive to yours, just accept that this isn't necessarily the place for you. Take control, make the most of your dinner, leave 18% (assuming you got everything and it was hot or cold as it should be) and move on. There are a lot of great fish in this sea.