it’s got a permanent place on the short list of local go-tos, one that has everything to do with the well-roundedness implied by the word “yet.” Rustic yet modern vibe. Polished yet laid-back service (if the pace is a bit slow when the dining room is full, which is always, so be it—the point is to relax over fine wine in good company). Smart yet sensual food; ever-changing yet grounded menu. Duo’s got nuance down-pat.

Hey, I think I just said it all. I wish my camera had done a better job of saying it for me, but the battery died after the first shot, so the cell lens had to do.

Saltine-crusted crabcake: moist, perfectly seasoned, light on the filler, hardly requiring the red-pepper aioli or the sharp, bright corn relish.

Crostini spread with luscious housemade ricotta & melting leeks under a bit of tomato, sparkling sweet-sour anchovies, & small dollops of salsa verde, parsley-fresh & caper-pungent.

I didn’t try the smoked lamb ribs over green tomato-Napa cabbage slaw, but a taste of the whiskey-infused bbq sauce made me wish I had fries with that.

Accompanied by caraway-flecked flatbread, house-cured gravlax with dill-&-cucumber-scented yogurt & pickled red onions was pristine yet soulful—as straight-up as it gets.

We’d only on planned on happy hour, but our little quartet stayed through dinner, a fact that speaks volumes about our comfort level here. The Director’s fried chicken showed a little too much greaseless restraint for my tastes—I guess I like it drippingly down & dirty— but the smooth buttermilk-mashed potatoes & tangy take on hoppin’ john hit the spot.

And my perfectly grilled hunk of ribeye, smothered in more of that luscious salsa verde, was tops, over a gorgeous (photo notwithstanding), snappy panzanella enhanced by green beans & shreds of fresh buffalo mozzarella.

Giving up on the camera, I didn’t capture A’s pancetta-&-spinach-layered rabbit roulade with carrot puree & mustard jus, though it was a thing of delicate beauty, nor M’s market fish special, nor their shared goat cheesecake with housemade graham cracker & mango sorbet. I think you get the picture nonetheless. This is savvy stuff: intelligently conceived, effortlessly executed. It’s as simple as that.

Duo on Urbanspoon