This modest 30-odd seat room’s decor of unfinished wood and brick is spare, the ever-changing menu is short and the wine list is lean. But who needs flourishes when everything is just right? Chef Jason Carter describes his food as “simple,” but the truth is that it only looks that way. The understated Nordic esthetic of his handsome plates conceal a feast of technique. To begin, crisp-crusted housemade bread, the crumb moist, dense and deeply flavourful. Whatever follows is always the best of the season, somehow tasting more of itself than you last remember it. In winter, say, a salad of winter citrus balanced with the mild bitterness of speckled radicchio. In summer, a thick slice of firm, ripe tomato enhanced to surprising effect with essence of raspberry. A seared slice of Humboldt squid, the exterior caramelized, but creamy within, arrives on a pool of exceptional XO. Why has no one ever served me short rib confited in duck fat before? Proteins are always cooked precisely à point. Vegetables like smoky, miso-glazed pumpkin squash taste life-affirming. Do not forgo dessert, and leave the wine choices to sommelier Susan Beckett, whose picks are unusual—and invariably inspired.
Photos: CHRISTOPHE JIVRAJ