I've been doing more thinking only to realize that even the best plans may change midstream: I've been planning my ideal kitchen and I have two variants, both of which improve on the current situation.
Variant I is the pass-through with counter that I've been considering for some time-- pass-through with bar height counter with room for two. Simple, keeps the kitchen intact while under construction, improves sight lines, doesn't address inefficient traffic patterns in the living room, and requires that I downsize my kitchen table or eliminate it (a problem if I have family over). Kitchen work triangle seems a bit strained on paper.
Variant II eliminates the wall+passthrough completely. This one is better from a "have the extended family over and be able to sit at a table with them" sort of scenario, since I would gain space flexibility without the wall in my way. I'd also improve traffic through the living room, making it more space efficient. However, I'd lose the nice feature of the bar and having a place to perch while talking to the chef. Kitchen work triangle is improved and kitchen design is simplified. I'm sort of favoring this option, but I'm not sure.
However, taking the wall down in its entirety would involve moving a gas line and several electrical outlets+switches, not to mention that I need the French doors in place before this work begins since I would immediately need to use the wall which currently contains the kitchen door. Finally, there's the uncertainty of whether I (need / could get) a beam to span the room. That sounds like too much work for a weekend, so I think that the safest course of action is to proceed with the wall+passthrough and gain experience with that task. After all, it's easy to do more demo, but harder to reconstruct a wall if I decide variant II is a mistake.