Mon Dieu! What were the chances that a chic Capitol Hill bistro and bar—gleaming mercury glass, mod metalwork partitions, a single blood-red banquette curving coolly through the room—would traffic in genuinely admirable French food? Thank the owners of Maximilien in Pike Place Market, who imported its fine chef to pan sear half chickens to heartbreaking tenderness, serving them over fingerlings and garlic butter with a flutter of nasturtiums; to steam Penn Cove mussels in four ways every evening, perhaps in a fragrant fennel bath with pork belly beside a cone of perfect frites. Amid all this culinary overachievement, a glass of well chosen French wine or an absinthe cocktail (complete with absinthe fountain) might at first appear as too much happiness. You’ll get over it.


Published: October 2013