Le Diplomate is one of the buzziest restaurants in one of the buzziest neighborhoods in DC, and has been since it opened almost two years ago. I’d been a few times for brunch and drinks on random afternoon, but never for the full dinner experience. Last week, in an effort to see our friends Unmani and Shreyans before we leave, we finally made it happen.
It was a pleasant, early Spring night so we decided to sit outside on the large patio. Our server arrived promptly and with much enthusiasm began to explain the menu and assist us with our wine choice for the meal. We ordered an affordable bottle of Bordeaux, which was predominately Merlot and a versatile choice for our anticipated orders.
The wine list leans more on expensive side, but I was glad to find that the options were very palatable. Le Diplomate is a classic French restaurant, so we started the classes French way, with fromage. We ordered a cheese board, with five cheeses and accompaniments, to keep our stomachs happy while we caught up on each other’s lives.
Our server picked our cheese selections for us, since we were too busy chatting to make decisions, and he did a great job. The crusty baguette bread, fig jam and Marcona almonds made it even better.
After a bit, we realized the folly in our decision to sit outside, as the sun went down and the temperature dropped. Luckily, our server noticed our chattering teeth and brought us blankets.
Eventually, we made up our minds about our entrees, and were greeted with steaming plates of comfort food to warm our bellies.
Because I was hoping for as many excuses throughout the evening to do my Julia Child impression, I ordered the boeuf bourguignon.
I will be honest and say that the dish didn’t quite blow me away, but I had gone in prepared to be disappointed. With as much hype as the restaurant has gotten, I suspected it might not live up to my expectations in every way. However, it was still very tasty with a rich, concentrated flavor in the meet and the broth. I didn’t think the bacon was necessary, but the pomme puree was exceptional. Tom also went the classic, and beefy, route ordering the steak frites, and reached as similar conclusion to mine.
A good dish, but something about the steak tasted a bit strange to me. It was topped with a truffle butter, which I typically love, but there was an unexpected twang I couldn’t get past. Like my dish, the carbs were the star of the show.
Unmani ordered the steak poivre, and didn’t love it while Shreyans had the roasted duck breast and raved about his dish. Despite the fact that we weren’t all enamored with our meals, the dinner experience at Le Diplomate was still a win with great company and great service. I would certainly go back to try more dishes when we return to the states.