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 and serve them over fingerlings and garlic butter with a flutter of nasturtiums; to steam Penn Cove mussels in four ways every evening and serve them with a cone of perfect frites. Wines are fine French labels, but why pass up absinthe? 

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