30 June 2015

French cuisine, charm on the table at Le Diplomate in DC

In my many years traveling to Washington, DC for work, I’ve enjoyed many delicious French restaurants. I’d always heard good things about Le Diplomate but somehow never went there. It’s not that it’s out of the way. But I seldom had a need to stay in the Logan Circle neighborhood, and so just never made a point of eating there.

That changed a few weeks ago. I had a meeting downtown and got a good price for a room at a Kimpton Hotel (The Helix) near Logan Circle. So on Sunday night, I wandered over to Le Diplomate to see if I could get a table. There were plenty of people there on a Sunday night. But I didn’t have any trouble getting a table.

Le Diplomate has a very appealing menu, offering a wide range of items from small plates to classic bistro cuisine. It has a list of nightly specials. On Sunday night (at least this summer) the special is ‘coq au Riesling.’ I don’t usually order chicken at a restaurant. (We make chicken often enough at home.) And I’d never had coq au vin before. (My wife had it once in Paris. It was tough, tough, tough.) But my server made it sound appealing (braised for hours, meat falling-off-the-bone tender). Also, it was served with spaetzle. That was the clincher for me, so I decided to get it. IMG_1271

But first, I ordered radish crudité from the hors d’oevres section of the menu. Take a look how beautiful it was. And delicious … yum! The radishes were fresh and crisp, sprinkled with sea salt. They came with thick slabs of lightly toasted bread and a pot of butter. It was fabulous and a generous portion, enough for two people to share. Somehow, I managed to eat it all, however.

The coq au Riesling as good. Maybe not quite as tender as the server lead me to believe. But very flavorful. I loved the spaetzle. They were delicious.

The ambiance at Le Diplomate is friendly and casual. My table was on the edge of the outdoor tables, so I could enjoy the warm, humid DC air. (I did enjoy it. May in Minneapolis was quite dreary, and the weather in DC in early June was not oppressively hot yet.)

So I’m sorry that it took me so long to try Le Diplomate. I’m glad I finally did. It certainly lived up to the favorable comments I’d always heard about it.

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