Le Diplomate, Washington, D.C.


My friend in DC wanted to introduce me to one of her friends who will be working at the US Embassy in Paris this spring. Although our trips will only overlap for a few days, we hope to connect one night along with some of her friends who live in Paris. I love choosing a city and staying for a few weeks, instead of just a quick trip, so that I have the opportunity to meet new people and take the city slowly, instead of at the rushed pace of a tourist. One month in France this spring, with almost three weeks in Paris will be perfect.

Since we will meet again in Paris, and since we all love all things French, we met at the new hotspot in DC, Le Diplomate. Almost impossible to get a table without a reservation weeks in advance, this French style restaurant is worth the advanced planning. Right now, the restaurant stays booked a week or two in advanced, but not long ago the wait was 2-3 months (they will celebrate their one-year anniversary next month). While there are a few tables reserved for walk-ins, the wait may be very long. However, if you arrive early, you may be able to find a seat at the bar, which is where we sat. This offers the great advantage of developing conversation with the bartenders and tasting many of the wines. The wine list by the glass is limited, but perfect. There are plenty of options to please almost any palate. When I asked if they served by the glass, the bartender responded, “No, our wines are so good you will want a full glass.” He was right. The by the bottle list was arranged in two columns on each page (and there are many pages ranging from $40 bottles to $1200 bottles). The column on the left is reserved for french wines, arranged by region and grape. The column on the right is the Interprétations Internationales, or the same grape or blend in a non-french wine.

The food is as you would expect, only better. Rich, french foods that make feel as if you are treating yourself to something truly special. Le Diplomate has a great reputation for their pomme frites (french fries) serve with a thick, creamy aioli. Even if you don’t want to indulge in a full order on your own, be sure to order a serving for the table. The bread is also incredible, and if you play your cards right, they may even give you a full loaf to take home 🙂 The options below are taken from the dinner menu. There are also brunch and lunch menus available on their website:

Vegetarian Options (check with your server about “hidden” ingredients; often French food is prepared with some type of meat even if it is not listed – especially the side dishes)

  • Radish Crudité with sea salt & butter
  • Ricotta Ravioli with plum tomatoes and basil
  • Macaroni au Gratin (mac and cheese – this is incredible and with a salad it makes a meal, in fact, it is so good I could eat it as dessert!)
  • Mushroom tarte – pioppini mushrooms, truffle pecorino
  • Salade Verte (green salad) with haricots verts, radishes, red wine vinaigrette
  • Endive and Roquefort Salad with port poached pear, bacon (ask to be left off)
  • Omelette with Saunders Farm eggs, gruyère cheese, fines herbes
  • Sides: Pommes Frites (french fries), sautéed spinach, haricots vertes (green beans), pommes (potato) au gratin, pomme pureé, brussel sprouts

Pescatarian Options

  • Tuna Carpaccio with leek vinaigrette
  • Warm shrimp salad with lemon beurre blanc, avocado
  • Trout Amandine – toasted almonds, haricots verts, lemon brown butter (Heavenly)
  • Moules Frites marinière style mussels, pommes frites , sauce mayonnaise
  • Norwegian Salmon – cider poached, braised red cabbage, mustard vinaigrette
  • Roasted Scallops – red wine salsify, truffle sabayon
  • Grilled Loup de Mer (Sea Bass) – tapenade, roasted peppers, gigante beans

…and of course fantastic dessert and cheese plates


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