Le Diplomate

Starr Report

Steak Tartare and Towers of Oysters on 14th

None 6 Photos Le Diplomate
Springtime. Flowers are blooming. The sun is high. People are pairing up everywhere you look.

Time to zero in on a romantic interest and head to Paris. Wait, maybe that’s too much, too soon. Fortunately, 14th Street can now stand in.

Because here’s the long-awaited Le Diplomate, a sprawling French spot from Philly food guy Stephen Starr, now soft-open for dinner.

This is basically the Platonic ideal of a French brasserie—a bustling, airy, all-hours kind of place, with all the requisite touches of lace, marble, antiqued mirrors and baskets of baguettes taunting you as soon as you walk in.

If you’re breezing in after work, you might be able to get by with a draft of Southampton Double White at the bar (grab a French newspaper from the rack if your date makes you wait).

For more deliberate excursions, request one of the semicircular booths along the windows and get started on saffron-infused cocktails, steak frites and daily specials like lobster risotto.

But starting next week, you’ll want to grab a midafternoon table on the giant, flower-ringed patio. There, you’ll summon a tower of oysters and king crab legs, tell them to put a bottle of wine on ice for you and take in all the Washington-ness around you.

No, the waiters won’t be mean to you.

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