Friday, December 20, 2013

Le Diplomate

Le Diplomate pays homage to French café culture by providing a comfortable place for everything from a cappuccino and croissant on a lazy weekend afternoon at brunch to a celebratory dinner out with friends or just a drink and dessert at the close of an evening. The stylish dining room exudes a welcoming vibe and in warmer weather, enjoy dining "en plein air" in the stunning outdoor cafe where you can take in the bustling energy of DC while sipping the perfect kir royale. Closest Metro is U Street or McPherson Square.

The extensive menu features a variety of classic favorites including Onion Soup Gratinée, Steak Frites and Escargots as well as daily plats such as Bouillabaisse and Entrecôte de Boeuf. Towering plateaus of oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail and lobster are the perfect start to a meal or a main course unto itself. The crusty baguettes are made in-house and are the ideal accompaniment to a selection of regional French cheeses. A thoughtfully curated wine list and specialty cocktail program complete the experience.

For an early Christmas dinner, Keith and I decided to go to increasingly popular Le Diplomate.  We were seated at a small table, and I admired the simple Christmas decorations that illuminated the large French-inspired dining room.  So many items looked great on the menu that it was hard to narrow down.  Firstly, we decided to share a carafe of the house white blend.  It was very light and almost watery, causing me to second guess ordering it instead of the red.  But the white wine accompanied the food just fine the whole night.  We also really enjoyed the freshly baked bread offering.  Not only was the bread very French in texture (crunchy and chewy crust with springy interior), so was the salted butter that came with.  I had to refrain myself from eating the whole basket.

For appetizers, Keith enjoyed a half dozen oysters featuring a mix from Rhode Island, Virginia, and Maryland.  I chose the Mushroom Tart that was a light flaky crust loaded with pioppini mushrooms and truffle pecorino.  The mushroom flavor was intense and this tart was a nice treat in itself.  For my main I immediately noticed and ordered the daily plate of my favorite seafood stew called Bouillabaisse.  This bowl included shrimp, mussels, and monkfish in a light tomato saffron broth.  The seafood was perfectly tender and the broth incredibly fragrant and warm.  I happily dunked extra French bread into the broth to soak up all the goodness.  As a side dish, I wanted to try the Pommes Au Gratin.  They were very rich and creamy and loaded with lots of cheese.  Keith ordered Beef Bourguignon with button mushrooms, lardons, red wine sauce.  His dish also came unknowingly with mashed potatoes, and was overall a hearty dish perfect for winter.

All in all, I enjoyed all the food, and the service was on point.  The dining room itself can get very loud and packed.  I can see how this place has gotten so popular since its anticipated opening earlier this year.  If you are in the mood for classic French food in a vibrant atmosphere, then check out Le Diplomate.

Total Rating: 4.28
Food: 4.5, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 4

What I ate:
Mushroom Tart
pioppini mushrooms, truffle pecorino

Bouillabaisse

Pommes Au Gratin

Plus Keith ate:
Assorted Oysters
half dozen

Beef Bourguignon
button mushrooms, lardons, red wine sauce

Le Diplomate on Urbanspoon

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