Desserts were the weakest of our courses, and the fall menu does not retain any of them. For the record, the chocolate mousse ($10) was a cube of clean, light chocolateness, with "hazelnut dirt" (a crumble of roasted nuts — hold that thought, chef) and excellent mint sorbet. A pre-deconstructionist would have layered these ingredients in a parfait glass. Sticky date cake ($10) was our favorite, despite rather ordinary spice cake, with dates on top, and fantastic vanilla ice cream. An almond dessert ($10) had all the almond flavor in the ice cream. Our favorite thing on that dessert were some pieces of almond brittle, and we were happy to see more of them on a really handsome complimentary amuse-bouche with the check — 3/4-inch linzer cookies, similar oatmeal wafers, and chocolate truffles with a liqueur flavor were the rest of that.
Service upstairs was well managed although untested on a slow early weeknight. The upstairs room is quiet, with a view from the front tables (of a deep space) of the Mandarin Oriental next door. Techno music goes with very modern décor featuring lots of shiny things (even the wood trim has metallic inlay); white-leather seating lightens up the room. The owners are clearly attuned to the ambiguities of a Back Bay location — the mix of conventioneers, tourists, metro-local shoppers, and money residents is not a simple marketing problem.
Robert Nadeau can be reached at email@example.com.