Chef, Cafe Barjot. The Stranger

Capitol Hill's new Cafe Barjot is where Chico Madrid used to be, and the sleek little space looks much the same—which is a good thing (think movie-set-in-Paris sleek, not douche-new-condo sleek). "Barjot" is French slang for "crazy," and it's pronounced like "Joe Bar," but backward; the popular cafe by that name just a few blocks away is run by the same owner, Wylie Bush. Asked where Barjot falls on a scale of cafe to bar—they're open until 4 p.m. most days, but will have longer hours soon—chef Maegan Rasmussen says, "We'll have specialty cocktails. Any cafe in Europe provides the option of liquor. [Barjot] allows people to make adult decisions, but to be zany kids, too. Zany kids with drinks!" But the craziest thing at Barjot, Maegan says, is "my and Wylie's matching bunions" (not on the menu).

Maegan was 14 when she first worked in a restaurant in Jersey—one where the staff abruptly sold all the cooking equipment and left town—but it was cooking in Paris that made Maegan a career chef. She designed Barjot's entire menu, including house-made pastries now also available at Joe Bar, where Maegan has cooked for years. I opted for baked eggs with spinach in béchamel and Gruyère, two tender eggs on a bed of buttery spinach beneath a layer of melted Gruyère that adds a light saltiness. Cold brew from True North Coffee roasters was a smooth and potently caffeinated accompaniment. recommended