New Chef Leaves Diego at 14th and V St, NW

14th and V Street, NW

Eater DC reports:

“Chef Billy McCormick has parted ways with Diego Restaurant in D.C. after a brief stint there.”

Diego had reopened under Chef McCormick in mid-October.

Anyone try the drinks?


32 Comment

  • Wow. Can’t imagine that place is going to last much longer……. Haven’t even had the opportunity to go yet.

  • Wtf? I feel like I can’t keep up with this place. Can someone give me a cliff’s notes on its complicated history?? (I’m only half joking)

  • Psmitty311

    Went there with my wife after the reopening. The steak tacos were pretty good, but the sides left everything to be desired, and the two drinks we had tasted like lime juice. It’s not the worst place since the tacos are good, but given the number of decent-to-awesome Mexican options within a block or two, we’d never go back there again. Hopefully it doesn’t sit vacant forever if it does close.

  • I ate at Diego soon after they first opened, and the food was decent (on par with Alero). If they can just stay open, I’m sure there’s plenty of people in the neighborhood that will keep them in business.

  • This place – and so many others in the vicinity – was just destined to be awful. Just look at the size of the place. The investors clearly had dreams of Lauriol-like crowds. Get your food right, people. Too bad places like Lauriol teach the wrong lesson: that vibes and booze is all you need.

  • Maybe the problem is the definitely cheesy and possibly offensive menu titles — “El Menu”, “Los Drinks” and “Los Desserts”. With all the dishwashers working back there, they couldn’t find anyone to provide an actual translation of these words into Spanish?

  • I went on Friday, against my better judgment. The new menu is really run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex offerings. I tried to order something that sounded a little more adventurous, and I ended up with an unappealing, giant pile of some of the driest pork I’ve ever had, with some onions. It was so dry I had to ask for any kind of sauce to drown it in. Everyone else’s food was satisfactory at best.
    The front-of-the-house service was pretty decent, but they forgot my appetizer and you could tell the back of the house was disorganized. They also messed up a drink order. This place is too big to run properly, and they’re not bringing anything to the table — especially with the cheap and authentic Tacos El Chilango down V and El Centro down 14th.

  • I live across the street and had high hopes for a neighborhood place that was tasty and reasonably priced. Unfortunately, Diego seems to be missing the mark. I’ve been twice since it re-opened and the service, for as quiet as the restaurant has been, was marginal at best. I hope someone can turn this place around.

    • Here’s an idea: shut it down and divide the space into no fewer than 3 businesses which are sized appropriate to their ability to make and serve quality food.

      • what three businesses do you think we could use?

        • how about: 1) a bakery (my kingdom for a good DC bakery!), 2) a Yucatecan restaurant with seating for no more than 30, 3) oh, I don’t know, some kind of single purpose shop like a fish market?

          • +1 on the bakery. Lyon Bakery has an outpost at Union Market, and their stuff is outrageously good (it’s just bread – no pastries), but, you know, getting to Union Market sucks.

          • Well, this is only two blocks from Bakehouse, which is really quite good, and a quick bus ride to Le Caprice which is excellent by any standard (does this mean I get your kingdom?)

          • If only DC could support a good bakery.
            Le Caprice’s bread is garbage. Marginally better than Giant. Pain Quotidien and Lyon probably have the best in the district proper you can buy, but that’s not saying much.
            Hoping the bread we make at Le Diplomate will go into retail soon….

  • Given this place is run by the same group that owns Dupont Italian Kitchen, I am not surprised. My guess is that this chef (and the last one) left after being pressured/told to cut corners and make things as cheaply as possible. A decent Tex-Mex or Cali-Mex place in this neighborhood would be nice, but as others have noted there are plenty of alternatives. Btw, I’m not an expert on SW cuisine, but personally would consider El Centro and Tacos El Chilango more pure Mexican.

    • Not surprising. The food at DIK is nothing to write home about either. Really, I think there are just too many Mexican options in this neighborhood. How about an actual Spanish restaurant? Or some decent Chinese, Thai or Indian? There are 10 restaurants on this street where I can get a burrito, but not one where I can get some decent Malai Kofta.

    • Can you seriously believe Dupont Italian Kitchen is still open? It’s all about location for that place. Move it one block up the street and it would be closed in one year. Some of the worst food in DC. Never been to Diego so can’t say.

  • justinbc

    This place sounds like quite the disaster, glad we never bothered to visit.

  • Something is definitely amiss at this place. Think I will skip visiting for the time being.

  • Interesting. Went right after it reopened and had surprisingly good food (can’t remember what they called the entree but it was a deconstructed tamale type thing). Though the space is way, way too big to have any ambiance or prayer of profit.

    Went back last week and the creative menu offerings were all gone – only the usual suspects were left and the fajitas and tacos were seriously mediocre. So disappointing.

  • lovefifteen

    Is the upstairs area all tables, too? I live so close to here, but have never bothered to go. It looked so promising when they were first renovating this dilapidated building, too, but something about the design and look of the place turns me off.

  • I went about two weeks ago, and the service was great, shrimp fajitas were good and the salmon a la parrilla was better than laouriol plaza imho, the margaritas were good too…i would go back…at least try them out.

  • I went on Friday and only had a few Pacifico’s on tap. They were quite tasty.

  • Moroni and bro for sale?

  • I do hope this place pulls itself together. I was sad to see the more adventurous items on the menu disappear, and said so to one of the managers (who moved here from Rosa Mexicano in Penn Quarter – nice guy who seemed concerned). There just HAS to be a way to make a Tex Mex place work here – if goshawful Alero can stay open, then surely Diego can figure it out.

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