Boston Ballet Nutcracker and the Back Deck

Like the staging of The Nutcracker, the Back Deck, on the corner of Washington and West streets has set a stage to depict its own illusion, one of dining on an outdoor deck. Think teak tables, wide floorboards, bird’s nest chandeliers --- and a menu that could be enjoyed indoors or out. Open since June, Back Deck offers a grilled scallops and Bartlett pear baby spinach salad with arugula, fennel, endive and Dijon vinaigrette as one great choice that’s also light enough to allow room for dessert. The grilled salmon cobb salad is another great selection, as is the Tuscan chicken sandwich with sourdough bread. But the winning entrée is the cheeseburger and fries. The potato bread bun and cooking method on a hardwood charcoal grill is what sets this restaurant apart from the rest, courtesy of Chef Paul Sussman, who says the art of grilling is part of his DNA. The cheeseburger is proof of this, and I know I’ll be back for more, and for more of the fries, which are really cut baby potatoes. Once tasted, however, I forgot all about traditional fries. These were insane!

Fortunately, the menu will only be tinkered with seasonally, and mostly where sides are concerned. But for the season of “The Nutcracker,” the dessert list has a new addition: the Nutcracker Suite Sweets, which is a dessert to be shared ($7). This sweet specialty offers a trio of nutty confections, such as the walnut-caramel tart with chocolate ganache between two layers of rich, chocolate-iced pastry, and a trio of hazelnut-mocha macaroons that are really light as air, and two of the classic sugar plums --- a sugar-encrusted confection made with honey, dried fruits and nuts, cinnamon and orange zest (almost tastes like fig). For children, The Nutcrackers Candy Cane Dance is a chocolate sandwich cookie with candy cane butter cream and rich chocolate and cool mint ($3). These desserts are available through Dec. 30 in the casual setting of the Back Deck, Boston.