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Originally published | Page modified July 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Get a pre-owned Armani or a great French burger in Madison Park

A look at a hip and happening block of Madison Valley in Seattle.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Numbers correspond to map

1. Voilà! Bistrot, 2805 E. Madison St. Does it make you an ugly American if you order a burger at a French bistro? Folks, gourmet burgers are actually hip in Paris. And it's a sin not to order a burger at this place: Kobe hamburger with caramelized onions and Brie served with fries.

2. Gentlemen's Consignment, 2809 E. Madison St. Good deals on suits. Canali sport coats and Armani suits for a few hundred bucks.

3. La Côte Creperie, 2811 E. Madison St. The best crepe I've tasted in this city was the L'Alpine with Yukon potatoes, bacon and Fleur des Alpes cheese. Tiny spot, but beautiful blue-and-white color scheme with great attention to design details, down to the blue edging on the windows, doors and hanging light fixtures.

4. Real Card Company, 2814 E. Madison St. Long before Evite, we had party invitation cards. I know. This seems weird to the Twitter set. But it's true. This store sells them.

5. Rover's, 2808 E. Madison St. One of the city's august fine-dining establishments. Now serving Sunday brunch. And since we are on the theme of fashion, let it be known that chef Rautureau, aka "the Chef in the Hat," sported a fedora long before it became fashionable.

6. Fury, 2810 E. Madison St. This women's consignment shop carries Prada, Michael Kors and other top labels. For all the Carrie Bradshaws in training: one of the area's largest selection of used Jimmy Choo shoes, for about $100.

7. Istina, 2804 E. Madison St. A boutique showcasing chunky silver bracelets and rings for the younger set and contemporary designs for the 40-to-50-year-old set.

quotes " 1987, when few would dare to walk these blocks at night." What?! ... Read more

The hipness of Seattle's Madison Valley can be summed up by my favorite block of East Madison Street, between 28th and 29th Avenue East. This is the land of affordable used Armani suits, Jimmy Choo shoes and three French restaurants.

I reckon if the girls from "Sex and the City" ever had an airport delay at Sea-Tac, they would hop in a taxi and slip in here for a few hours with lipstick-stained lattes in hand.

For French chef Thierry Rautureau, this French-and-fashion block is reminiscent of a European street, a tiny French Quarter perhaps.

There should be a street sign in Rautureau's honor. His James Beard Award-winning Rover's opened here in 1987, when few would dare to walk these blocks at night.

Two of the city's most acclaimed restaurants, The Harvest Vine and Nishino, also reside nearby. But most people forget that in 1991, Café Flora brought in the hip and the young by showing that vegetarian food is more than just tofu.

And I won't even venture to guess why Madison Valley is home to dozens of therapists, though Rautureau offers up this theory: "I think once they heard there was a crazy Frenchman in Madison Valley, they all moved in."

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or

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