For dessert, Michelle's profiteroles came dripping with a rich chocolate sauce but also drowned with ice cream. Though I'm rarely one to object to any amount of ice cream, the abundance here made it hard to appreciate the otherwise wonderfully textured pastry. My fig cake, on the other hand, was a study in restraint: a dense, luscious slice of heaven with slivers of fig, a puff of whipped cream, and dabs of slightly sweet red wine syrup. A pair of Italian nougat candies accompanied the check -- a nice touch. Despite the misfires, Merenda is clearly willing to go the extra mile for its customers. With a little more refinement, it could blossom into one of the best restaurants to open in San Francisco this year.