A destination dish! We've found a new destination dish! A destination dish is something so delicious you'll find yourself dreaming about it at night and wanting to return to the restaurant again and again for it, no matter what the rest of the menu offers.

That incredibly tasty concoction is . . . drum roll, please! . . . the smoked salmon pizza canape at downtown's Lazy Moon. Get past its somewhat prissy title, and you'll discover one of the most exceptional appetizers you've ever tasted. You can easily make a light meal of it. It consists of a crisp, thin pizza crust delicately spread with flavorful cream cheese infused with garlic and herbs. It's generously topped with exquisite salmon that is apple-alder smoked right there on the premises. Then they add capers, chopped red onions, fresh lemon slices, a sprig of fresh rosemary and serve it cold, for $5.95. It's the perfect thing to nosh on out on the patio on a warm spring evening if were ever have one.If not, eating inside is agreeable as well. The Lazy Moon features a casual ambience: rough brick walls, wooden tables and chairs, a pool table and dart boards (to be added) downstairs. It's in Exchange Place, in the dark venue that has changed hands more times than Larry King has changed wives. You might remember the Cinegrill being housed there at one time.

If you're averse to salmon, capers or any of the other delectable ingredients on the canape, the Lazy Moon is still worth a visit. Their gourmet pizzas are also exceptional. The menu advises that "Quality takes time, but worth the wait!" which is true, if grammatically incorrect. At least one of the 16 exotic combinations has to be correct for anyone's palate, however. If not, you can create your own with classic ingredients or more adventurous ones like seasoned ricotta, clams, wild mushroom Duxelle and artichoke hearts.

And they'll willingly put together an half-and-half pizza for you. We tried part "Lone Peak," which is a vegetarian number with roasted eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet roasted garlic, feta cheese, mozzarella and Greek olives. The other part was titled "The Pfeifferhorn," and featured wonderful spicy lamb sausage, Greek style spinach, feta, mushrooms, fresh rosemary and pine nuts on a pesto base. This pizza inspired quite a rousing debate between my dinner companions and me about which half was best. We finally decided both were superb. Ours was a small, for $11.95. There is a larger version for $15.95 that could easily satisfy four people.

And it's worth going on beyond pizza and trying a few of the other menu items. The pasta de luna, at $7.25, which takes its name from the Spanish word for "moon," is a house specialty, and very good. It's spinach fettucine tossed in goat cheese and a roasted garlic cream sauce, then topped with Greek olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh rosemary and grated romano. It's not a huge portion, but it's so rich you still might not end up taking some home.

There are other pasta dishes, salads and hot and cold sandwiches on the menu, priced from $1.95 for a cup of their award-winning cutthroat chili to $12.95 for the pasta Newport, which is linguine simmered in a white wine garlic sauce with shrimp, baby clams, Dungeness crab and halibut, then topped with fresh parmesan, julienned prosciutto and fresh sage.

It's rumored that on the weekends the Lazy Moon becomes quite crowded with patrons thirsty for the wide selections from the local micro-breweries, and the service suffers as a result. But we ate there on a Monday and found it uncrowded and comfortable. Emilie, our server, was friendly and attentive. "Drop a knife, a new man will enter your life," she told us after one of our utensils slipped to the floor. We immediately had to restrain one of our dining companions from tossing the rest of the cutlery. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed.

Another nice thing about the Lazy Moon is that it's one of the few places in the area where you can get something better than coffee shop fare until nearly midnight on the weekends and 10:30 on weeknights.

The menu proclaims it's "A Good Place When You Need Some Space," and we would have to agree.

Rating: * * * 1/2

The Lazy Moon, 32 Exchange Place, 363-7600. Open Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays 11:30 to 11:30; Saturdays 5 to midnight; Sundays 5 to 10:30 p.m. Accepts Visa, MasterCard, Diner's Club and checks. Reservations accepted only for large parties. All food is available for takeout.