French culture hasn't had any easy go of it this year in America, but that hasn't softened the draw of Sel de la Terre. In fact, chef Geoff Gardner's food just gets better and better in the face of Francophobia. With great attention to ingredients and detail, Gardner offers a Provençal-focused menu of affordable first courses ($9 each) that includes a smoky bacon tart with Swiss chard and earthy oyster mushrooms, and a cream of fennel soup with grilled shrimp, spinach, and fig- and anise-flecked croutons. Entrées are just as ambrosial: local cod with a sweet and crunchy hazelnut coating, served with green beans and roasted potatoes. Even the bar snacks are above par: Gardner's rosemary-scented pommes frites are, quite simply, required eating.