The food at Evan and Sarah Rich's new restaurant, Rich Table, is full of winks and asides.

The brand-new restaurant, clad in unvarnished wood and white tile, is both buzzy and casual. And though the Riches' cooking exhibits technical precision, it also conveys a playfulness that exceeds the descriptions on the menu.

A shadow of black olives flits across a salad of squid and sweet watermelon ($14), keeping the dish's sweetness in check. Papery, transparent potato chips ($7) are fried with sardines threaded through their centers--already Rich Table's main conversation piece. (Another one: Maz Naba's short but extraordinary wine list, divided into three flat price tiers.)

Blue prawns ($25), tails curled around the plate in baroque ornamentation, become doubly luxurious when dabbed into a tangy tonnato sauce underneath. And the Riches are confident enough to forgo a sauce with roasted duck breast, serving the meat over tart shaved plums and summer-sweet corn kernels.

Even a final plate of Ossau-Iraty sheep's-milk cheese ($4) comes with its own surprise ending: toasted levain, brushed with butter and honey, the bread fleetingly perfumed with fennel pollen.

Rich Table, 199 Gough St. (at Oak St.);415-355-9085 or richtablesf.com