Chef Jody Williams has seen her fair share of buzzy restaurant openings (and departures). But at her new restaurant, Buvette, she's taking a slow-and-steady tack toward the launch.

Buvette's doors have been quietly open for weeks, but many of Williams's French-swaying dishes have yet to find a permanent space on the printed menu. Instead, offerings such as potée--a savory broth that has sausage, smoked pork ribs, pork belly, trotters, beans and cabbage suspended in it--are recited by your server.

Yet there is already a clear signature on offer: the chocolate mousse.

Made with only five ingredients, it's served by giant spoonful, dropped free-form onto a plate and topped with an equally abstract scoop of whipped cream. Though the dessert is simple, its preparation is time-consuming, as Chef de Cuisine Caite Whitbeck beats the egg whites and yolks by hand in copper bowls.

Such exertions pay off: The mousse's thick and impossibly smooth texture is the matrix that holds up an amplified chocolate flavor that's akin to the inside of a truffle.

The kitchen initially gave out smaller spoonfuls of the stuff as a postprandial freebie, and now offers the dessert daily in the restaurant and for takeout. But the best way to protect yourself against a midnight craving is to whip out your copper bowls and make the mousse at home (click here to see the recipe).

Buvette, 42 Grove St. (between Bedford and Bleecker sts.); 212-255-3590 or