Maximilien at the Market


Each year, I spend Mother’s Day brunch with my relatives here in Seattle and since they love to go out to nice restaurants, we tend to try out a different place each time. This year’s choice for brunch was Maximilien, the French restaurant at the Pike Place Market. If you know where the famous ‘flying fish’ stall at Pike Place Market is, you want to take the little hallway to your left. Just be sure to be ready to duck, just in case some butterfingered tourist misses the catch and you get smacked by one of the fish. Sometimes the fish guys will let the customer catch the fish.

Not much to say about the food that they served, not that it wasn’t good or anything like that, but only because we are here to talk about espresso and not French cuisine! So I ordered a latte. The lattes come in little 8 oz cups which is just fine by me. As I was trying to find out more about their coffee, the waiter was not as knowledgeable about the coffee as I thought he would be…. But that was ok, because on the menu, the indication was that they served Stella coffee for drip while Caffé D’arte was what they used for espresso drinks. So here is where the confusion comes in because according to the waiter, they only served Caffé D’arte. They don’t have Stella Coffee. Ok fine, whatever… yet I also found this too be really odd and surprising.

The first thing that came to my mind while I was checking out the menu was, why is this restaurant, which bills itself as a romantic French restaurant, serve Italian style coffee. Not only is Caffé D’arte clearly an Italian [style] coffee, but so is Stella Coffee. This I think was the biggest surprise for me… But… that wasn’t going to stop me from ordering my latte.

The latte looked great when it arrived in the medium sized espresso cups. No surprise there when I took a few sips, the drink was pretty decent. After all, Caffé D’arte is one of my top four favorite roasters and any place that does a good job with Caffé D’arte espresso beans is certainly a place note. Ok, so they don’t serve French roasts or any French style coffee, but that is an oversight I a willing to overlook. I have no problem going back, just to enjoy a nice espresso… and hopefully even a chat with a knowledgeable waiter who can give me the inside scoop on how this French restaurant decided that Italian coffee is much more ‘romantic’ than French coffee.

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