THIS SMALL, 30-odd-seat room has much charm in its spare but warm design. The wait staff are unusually knowledgeable and welcoming, and never fuss. Still, the reason this restaurant is full night after night has mostly to do with the man who can be observed at work in the back, toiling away in the open, white-walled kitchen, head down, eyes focused on his food and little else.Chef and co-owner Jason Carter enjoys a reputation as a chef’s chef. He trained and worked with the best—Susur Lee, Marc Thuet—and has quietly earned a reputation as one of the most skilled and modest chefs in the city. He describes his food as “simple,” but the truth is that it only looks that way. Sure, you sit down to nothing more elaborate than warm bread, with only fromage blanc and minced shallot to dress it with. But it is fresh from Carter’s oven, built from his six-year-old starter, crisp-crusted, with a dense, moist crumb. Whatever follows is always the best of the season. In the prime of summer this could be a chilled soup of tomato essence, light, sweet and mildly acidic, scattered with the petals of edible flowers.Or a salad composed of a half-dozen different varieties of cucumber, each obscure, unfamiliar and delicious, their collective flavour intensified with a dressing of cucumber juice and seaweed powder. In fall, you might enjoy succulent, bronzed chicken blanketed in cabbage and in its broth, scattered with toasted hazelnuts. He will not serve fish that has ever been frozen; like all the proteins here, it is always cooked precisely à point, its flesh succulent and the seasoning perfect. Even so, it is the beautifully prepared vegetables with which they share the plate that one’s fork tends to lunge for first. The menu is short—edited down just like what’s on the plate to what is best, and what is needed—nothing more and nothing less. Susan Beckett’s wine list is likewise short, but well-researched and full of delicious surprises.