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Good God!

Can't get no satisfaction? Try Sacre Bleu.

The pan-seared Diver scallops with coral butter and early truffles ($10) wasn't quite as savvy a dish. Although the two scallops had been cooked properly, the coral butter was so delicate as to be watery, and the early truffles were late with flavor, adding nothing to the mix. (In a lesser place, I'd suspect "early" meant canned, because either truffles are ready to be snuffled out of the ground or they're not. When I asked the server, he said the label referred to the fact that they were the first truffles of the season -- but everyone knows the damned expensive things are being cultivated now, anyway.) And two other starters were non-starters. The quick-smoked salmon ($7) was just a hunk of fish that had no smokiness whatsoever and tasted steamed; the accompanying English peas and wild mushrooms had been completely mixed in with the crème fraîche, so there was nothing to dip the delicate salmon into, and the dish became all about mushrooms. Meanwhile, the wild-mushroom soup ($8), which should have been all about mushrooms, was strangely bland -- and the intriguing "farm-fresh" poached egg didn't help. While the light, mellow mushroom broth was floating with fungi, they tasted leeched of their flavor. Since that flavor obviously hadn't gone into the broth, where did it go?

The entrees were much more successful. For the oven-roasted poussin ($29), a tiny squab was cut into four tender, crispy-skinned delights. But once when we ordered this dish, the side of foie gras ravioli was flawless, a soft pillow of pasta stuffed with melt-in-your-mouth organ meat, and the next time, it was a dry, chewy block of dough filled with overcooked foie gras. Both times, the amount of foie gras was so teeny (and the truffled pan jus so mild) that this dish didn't justify the price tag. A more economical choice was the grilled polenta and squash ($18), a vegetarian dream that boasted some of the best polenta ever, warm and wet inside with a crunchy but yielding shell. The sweet corn flavor was nicely matched by the soft-as-butter squash, a ring of rocket, grana cheese and a laid-back sauce verde. Also well-priced was the roasted sea bass with simmered beans ($20). The fish was roasted perfectly, and its pleasant mildness went well with the not-too-tart lemon relish and a mound of tomatoes that had been cooked down until they'd released most of their moisture and nearly caramelized.

After such ambitious entrees, the dessert list was unimpressive -- and the desserts themselves boring. The apple tart tatin ($6) was nothing more than a puff-pastry disk topped with six apple slices; without that ball of vanilla ice cream melting on top, we might as well have eaten a rice cake. The chocolate mousse ($8) was middle-of-the-road, with a tuille that was soggy-soft. Sacre Bleu did better by its simpler finales, but the fresh berries with a Meyer lemon granité ($8) and white- and milk-chocolate-covered strawberries ($7) still seemed uninspired.

After a meal at Sacre Bleu, you feel like an after-dinner minx.
Q. Crutchfield
After a meal at Sacre Bleu, you feel like an after-dinner minx.

It definitely wasn't the kind of finale we expected in such sexy surroundings -- but, then again, who says the evening has to end with dessert?

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