Escaping Metreon

The wine list is a montage all by itself, with little-known choices from every continent except Antarctica. Markups for the relatively few I recognized were about normal, but lower-end choices are a little sparse. Along with full bottles (topping out at $110 for an Australian chardonnay), the list includes seven half-bottles ($17-39) and 14 still wines (and three bubblies) available by the glass ($5-14.50), including a German Spatlese ($7.50), rare on local lists, that might go nicely with some of the Asian-influenced menu choices. The full bar also offers classic and creative cocktails -- I chose a Caipirinha, which, unlike some local renditions, was made with genuine Brazilian sugar cane liquor. Numerous after-dinner sips are also offered at relatively reasonable prices, along with a trio of trendy aged tequilas.

The entree menu exhorts diners, "Just promise to save room for dessert!" In this case, it is worth reserving some appetite, since there's barely a cliche among the choices (unless you count a cheese plate and a confection platter). Fresh fruit confections, ice cream extravaganzas, and elaborate sorbet compositions predominate -- just the right final bites for popcorn-stuffed moviegoers looking to cap off an evening. Since I hadn't let my date snack at IMAX, he was thrilled to share the house signature "Montage Chocolate Popcorn Bag" ($7.50), created by Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake, and "inspired by the movies." Elegantly jocular, it featured a dark chocolate "paper bag" overflowing with caramel popcorn. Inside the shell was a melange of dark chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, crisp bites of malt-flavored meringue, and chocolate malt swirl ice cream.

Montage is the Metreon's adult-safe oasis, a haven from screaming preschoolers, loud baggy-pants brigades, and booming ambient mall-music. With its clean, fresh, intelligent cooking, it's a grand, graceful choice for a grown-up movie-and-dinner date.

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