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Has anyone here eaten at Le Diplomate?

One friend took another friend to the new Le Diplomate at 14th and Q for his birthday last week, and they both called last night to squeal like deux petits cochons about how wonderful it was. It's a Steven Starr restaurant -- his first in DC, I think -- and it sounds merveilleux.

I lived in Logan Circle for a year once in the late '80s, and moved back to Dupont because there was nowhere to go in walking distance. I moved out of DC entirely a decade ago, and now I want to visit, and eat every meal at Le Diplomate. Oh, I could just be the troisieme petit cochon.

Click on the dinner menu: http://lediplomatedc.com/

And look on google images for more pictures: https://www.google.com/search?q=le+di...

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  1. We tried Le Diplomate last week and were very impressed with the food, everything was very well-executed. Highlights were the boudin noir: incredibly soft, flavorful; and the chicken: so tender on the inside, skin crisped on the outside, well-seasoned. We will definitely be back to try more, especially the duck confit.

    1. I have reservations in a few weeks and I can hardly contain myself. I literally drooled when I saw the menu for the first time....I love French bistro cuisine so much and this looks like a perfect menu.

      1. What I wrote over on rockwell:

        Like virtually all Starr restaurants, [LD] will be a huge success. Even at this early stage, the quality control is awfully high: they've got all of the details down, so much so that it seems as if it has been a neighborhood institution for years rather than a fledgling operation that opened earlier in the week. As my dining companion remarked, it's virtually the definition of "convivial"--everyone in the room seems happy and content . . . at home. The millions were well-spent.

        I . . . had the steak tartare, which was very good, but very filling (especially when conjoined with the addictive breads in the basket). [Don R. had described it as such, and I concurrred: "Steak Tartare de Parc ($15.50), a hand-chopped cylinder of filet, served with capers, a quail egg, small side salad, and crunchy slices of baguette. This was a fine steak tartare, and I didn't realize that the slight zing I was tasting was due to bit a red chili sauce (tabasco-like) that I noticed had left a reddish complexion on the white plate. For me, there was no need to even touch the crispy bread (which I tend not to love in general) because Le Diplomate has its own bakery, and offers a wonderful bread basket with three types of bread, including the best baguette you'll find on 14th Street."]

        The skate and frisee salad were both excellent.

        Not cheap, however. Approaching, if not quite equaling, the price points at Balthazar [http://balthazarny.com/menus/dinner.pdf], which La Diplomate unashamedly mimics in almost all particulars.

        Still, I doubt that will keep the crowds at bay. Not going out on much of a limb to predict that La Diplomate will be part of the local firmament for quite a while.

        1. Had dinner there last night with a 730p reservation and seated at 745p. Place was jumping for a Sunday night. Have tried numerous Stephen Starr joints in Philly and he has successfully transplanted his Parc on Rittenhouse Square to DC (along with some of the personnel). Staff, setting, and food all exceptional with no detail overlooked. Even more than Range in Chevy Chase, he has created a dining experience that is theatrical. Hoping for more Starr in DC.

          1 Reply
          1. Finally checked out Le Diplomate last night. I LOVE this restaurant!! Everything was delicious and the service was very good. I especially like the vibe of the place---it really feels like you are in a Parisian bistro, very vibrant atmosphere without being so loud you can't talk to your dining companions.

            We had the oysters to start--a nice selection from both the East and West coast. A nice mignonette sauce. For the main course I ordered the grilled loup de mar. This was a beautiful presentation of the dish---a whole fish (bones, head removed), perfectly grilled with a little bit of tapenade and mixed beans as a sauce. It was nice, light and tasty.

            My friends got the cheeseburger. Telling from their comments this was a real winner. I couldn't help "sampling" their frites...which were great as well.

            Another winner of the night were the cocktails. I had the grapefruit and rosemary cocktail. Those suckers are dangerous---you could easily down 3 or 4 of them and never notice until you stand up. My friend had their version of a Manhattan with some sort of coffee liqueur in it...very interesting.

            I can't wait to return and try more of the menu---all the dishes going by, especially the streak frites and the duck looked fabulous.

            This place works on so many different levels--in the summer they have the windows open and the wonderful outdoor seating and then in the winter time it will be a cozy place to get some wine and beef bourginon.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              I forgot to also mention how delicious the bread basket it! There is a raisin and walnut bread that is fantastic!

              1. re: Elyssa

                Thanks for the repost Elyssa, it sounds great and I can't wait to go. I've pushed my stroller past the beautiful yellow seats outside longingly. But my friend has booked flights to DC in June and I am owed some evenings out so dinner Le Diplomate will be happening!

                The grapefruit and rosemary cocktail sounds amazing - add oysters, frites and french bread and I'll be in heaven!

                Did you have dessert?

                1. re: helen_m

                  We did not have dessert---we were so full from our meal (and cocktails!). My friend was telling me that perhaps the former pastry chef at PS7 might be working there now---not sure though.

              2. Awesome French Onion soup. The broth had great depth of flavor, crouton wasn't mush and still had texture, and the cheese was plentiful, stringy, and bubbling. The lamb sandwich was a little weak but their frites are great.

                1. Le Diplomate is a mighty fine place to find yourself on a Sunday afternoon. Onion soup gratinee, steak tartare, and foie gras parfait are all above excellent.

                  The onion soup is calling my name even as I type this. "steeeve.... steeeeve....." A photo of this soup with bubbling cheese would be so gorgeous, nobody would believe it.

                  Photoshop, eat your heart out.

                  But you can't have everything (in one place)......

                  The escargot, served in their own little crockpot, are bathed in more butter than I can even look at. Made me pine for the earthy version at Locolat. The warm shrimp salad, while nicely executed, made me wish for something more downscale and pungent like the mackerel salad at Bistro du Coin - at half the price.

                  All the more reason to move around a bit.

                  1. I guess I am the lone voice of dissent. I went to LD a few weeks ago with a friend and was decidedly underwhelmed. I had the lamb shank and she had the mussels and neither of us were particularly impressed. The lamb was dry (tough to do for a braised piece of meat), the flavors weren't well blended (it came with couscous with dried apricots and a harissa yogurt sauce) and over all, the dish just didn't seem to come together. The mussels were well well cooked, but were really drowned in butter. Enough that it had separated out from the wine sauce and was a little clear pool about a half inch deep on top of the bowl. Not very appetizing.

                    The highlights: The country duck terrine we had to start was great, the bread was delicious and the wine selection was excellent. The place itself is also a gorgeous space and really nice atmosphere.And the service was excellent, which in DC is always a nice change of pace!

                    I'll try it again both because I really want to love it here, but also just bc some time places just have an off night.

                    1. Went to Le Diplomat on Friday with some friends and had another wonderful meal. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants in DC. I started with the oysters once again, which were wonderful and fresh.

                      For my main course this time I tried the trout amandine. It was delicious! A very large portion of fish, covered in a brown butter sauce and toasted almonds. It's also served with perfectly cooked hericots vert. All around a perfectly cooked dish. Rich because of the butter but light because of the fish...if that makes sense.

                      I also was lucky enough to sample some of my friends' dishes. The roast chicken is wonderful---definitely brined with herb overtones. It comes with the most amazing mashed potatoes that are addictive until you realize they likely contain a pound of butter to make them so creamy. :)

                      I also tried the riccotta ravioli. It was nice but not something I would order again (especially in a French restaurant). The one dish I'm running back to order on my own is the foie gras. Whipped chicken liver as light as air. So rich and delicate...that alone with a cocktail could be a meal.

                      Overall the service was spot on, the cocktails were tasty and the food was delicious. And apparently this is the place to now see and be seen since we saw Secretary Sebelius at one table, Doug Kammemer the weather man at another and a MSNBC commentator at another. We missed the Bidens by 2 days!