In the empire-building spirit that’s gripped Seattle restaurateurs, Kurt Beecher Dammeier runs a farm-to-table dinnerhouse (Bennett’s on Mercer Island), a classic gourmet deli (Pasta and Co.), a seasonal truck shaped like a pig (Maximus/Minimus), a cheese-making fiefdom (Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, in Pike Place Market)—and now a small-plate drop-in, Liam’s Bistro: one of the sprawling newbies to colonize University Village. The heavily Glassybabied spot is a little too loud (sit in back, where there’s carpeting); a little too big (the sort of place where they have to tell you the kitchen’s running behind); a little too green in the service department (apologizing for the wizened salad beside the crab cakes even as they set it before us). It’s also unremarkable foodwise: Aside from a suitably moist braised lamb plate and an improbably delectable gluten-free Beecher’s mac and cheese—the majority of our plates, pastas to salads to sides, clocked in at mediocre. Until dessert, that is. Pastry pro Lucy Damkoehler (MistralKitchen, Hot Cakes) scored higher with every bite, from a pear-cherry galette with black pepper ice cream to a deconstructed Flagship cheesecake, lightly sweet and served in a pool of black currant caramel. “It’s like an entirely different restaurant for dessert!” sighed my companion. Indeed—one this critic recommends.