When the applause goes around to restaurants that have made strides in the last year, Dominique's will be among the deserving. The menu has expanded to reflect what is seasonally fresh, a late supper menu has been added, desserts have been much improved, and the food in general is better than ever. Dominique's has always had certain major assets, among them spacious quarters, romantic niches, and a charming as well as remarkably competent hostess. The atmosphere has always been lively, in part due to the elaborate hodgepodge of stained glass and oriental carpets and knickknacks and fabrics and polished wood. It is a restaurant that seems to generate a lot of energy. And now it generates some very good food, particularly robust dishes. This winter the venison was impeccable, rare and gamy, in a smooth, rich, highly herbed sauce. The accompanying chestnut puree was subtle, buttery and exceedingly delicious. Several lobster dishes were served in casseroles, among them an excellent lobster with whiskey sauce, its sauce airy and creamy, though rather heavy on the whiskey, the lobster meat juicy and sweet. As an appetizer, shrimps in garlic butter with chunks of tomato are piquant and irresistible. Dominique's attends well to salads and vegetables, offers backed brie as a cheese course, then tempts with souffles and excellent cookie-crusted tarts and a cheesecake which is less remarkable for itself than for its highly perfumed Grand Marnier sauce. As for the wine list, it is expensive but well chosen, and if you ask from the second, smaller list, you will find some good buys. Perhaps the strongest asset of all, however, is the Dominique's stays open late in this city where there are many late-night cafes, but few late-night full service restaurants outside of Chinatown.