Changes Coming to Le Diplomate in Logan Circle?

Le Diplomate_chef_dc
Photo by PoPville flickr user clif_burns

Hearing rumors that Le Diplomate’s executive chef, Adam Schop, has either left or is leaving soon. Before Le Diplomate opened last year the Washington Post reported:

“Adam Schop. The 37-year-old chef, whose resume includes the pan-Latin Nuela in New York and the admired Zinc Bistro in Scottsdale, beat out more than a dozen serious candidates for the job – including three French chefs.”

Not sure how/if Schop’s leaving will affect the menu but will update as soon as more info is known. Le Diplomate opened up almost exactly a year ago at the corner of 14th and Q St, NW.

44 Comment

  • Great. I love the space and the menu. But the food is inconsistent and often subpar. I’d love to see a change in chef. (But keep that foie gras parfait!)

  • I had great experiences at Stephen Starr restaurants in Philadelphia. I was pretty pumped he was bringing one to DC. I have been to Le Diplomate a few times, and I was underwhelmed each time. It was good, but not great. Maybe a change in the kitchen won’t be the worst thing in the world.

  • figby

    Adam Schop is wonderful. I love seeing him stomp through the dining room. His departure would be a real loss to DC.

  • Uh, this is part of a chain folks. The chef has very little to do with it. Mr. Starr has someone who takes care of it, and it ain’t the guy working in the kitchen.

  • I doubt this will change anything. Le Diplomate pumps out food in mass quantity. If you think Schop touches each one of your dishes, you are horribly mistaken.

  • Agree with the previous two comments. Le Diplomate is, first a foermost, a Stephen Starr restaurant. As in most of Starr’s restaurants, the chef is a marginal part of the operation. When they find Schop’s replacement, my guess is that there will be very little, if any, changes to the menu.

  • I enjoy the experience of Le Diplomate but the food leaves something to be desired. The food at Bistrot du Coin in Dupont is much better.

    • +1

      I agree. I’ve been to Le Diplomate a few times. The first time we were very excited and looking forward to something special, but it was very underwhelming. The second time, even with lowered expectations, we were still disappointed. A few co-workers have said the same. Bistrot du Coin, on the other hand, has never failed to impress. Even the atmosphere, I think, is better.

    • justinbc

      Yeah, they both provide pretty basic French bistro style food. The biggest difference is that it costs you twice as much at Le Diplomate.

    • Le Diplomate is for people watching — OK, and good bread. If you care about consistent and delicious French food, try Bistro la Bonne or Bistro d’Oc.

    • I have to disagree. I’ve always had a great experience at le Diplomat– the cheese board, especially the epoisse is amazing, as are the dinner and brunch entrees. The last time I was at Bistro du Coin, a former favorite, the portions were small and food just mediocre.

  • If a chef is such a marginal part of such chain operations, why have one at all? Wouldn’t just some kind of general manager suffice (Serious question for any industry insiders).

    • Someone still needs to be the “leader” in the kitchen – quality control, managing food line operations, barking directions, monitoring supplies, etc while still also doing some of the cooking. A “general manager” is managing front-of-the-house operations.

  • Am I the only guy in DC who doesn’t think that the food at Le Diplomate is mediocre? I’ve been there twice and both times I’ve left happy. This isn’t Paris or even one of the big, downtown restaurants where lobbyists dine on $50 steaks, it’s a neighborhood French bistro and should be judged accordingly.

    • Actually, I think the quality of the food should be compared to a steakhouse, as the prices are the same. However, I have very much enjoyed most, if not quite all, of what I have had.

    • I agree (although I’m not a guy, so maybe you still are the only one…). I’ve eaten here twice, and both times thought the food was great. Weird seeing the comment above saying Bistrot du Coin is much better. I’ve had several mediocre meals there, and the approach of those two restaurants to the food seems far enough apart to make the comparison weird.

    • I’ve had fantastic meals there both times I’ve been (once for brunch, once for dinner). I don’t agree with you that it’s a “neighborhood bistro” though – it’s a pretty expensive restaurant and should be compared to those $50 steak restaurants in my opinion. But, even by that bar, I think the food is great.

    • I think that Le Diplomate is way over-hyped. That being said, the two times I ate there the service was consistently good and the food was tasty.

    • I can’t get enough of their half chicken and potatoes. The place is excellent. Many people here are too cool for school and have never found anything that meets their standards, so…

    • Been there twice and loved it both times! The thing to remember is that it’s a trendy restaurant, so many people will say, “I’ve been there many times” (in order to show they’re trendy) and then will say, “And it was mediocre” (in order to preen about how sophisticated a diner they are). My GF’s steak was perfect, the skate was excellent, and the roast chicken was just about the best chicken I’ve ever had. The mushroom tart was pretty bland, but the deserts we’ve had have also been excellent.

      • “The thing to remember is that it’s a trendy restaurant, so many people will say, “I’ve been there many times” (in order to show they’re trendy) and then will say, “And it was mediocre” (in order to preen about how sophisticated a diner they are).”

        Absolutely nailed it.

      • “The thing to remember is that it’s a trendy restaurant, so many people will say, “I’ve been there many times” (in order to show they’re trendy) and then will say, “And it was mediocre” (in order to preen about how sophisticated a diner they are).”
        More like “The thing to remember is that it’s a trendy restaurant, so many people will say, “I’ve been there many times” (in order to show they’re trendy) and then will say, “And it was GREAT” (in order to preen about how sophisticated a diner they are).”
        I’ve been there three times. One needn’t be a sophisticated diner to recognize the mediocrity of the cooking. Of course, they barely pretend that it’s about the cooking, it’s about the scene — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      • This reminds me of the old joke:
        “The food there is terrible!”
        “Yes, and such small portions…”

    • I completely agree. I’ve been to Le Diplomate four times, and was very happy with the food each time (I dream about the mushroom tart and the head cheese, and the trout’s amazing. Also, that bread…).
      On the other hand, while I like and will go back to Bistro du Coin, I have never been that impressed with the food there. I’ve found it to be just fine quality french bistro fare, in an unbearably noisy atmosphere. (I’ll admit the Diplomate is noisy too, but slightly less so than Bistro du Coin.)

      • I love the food at Bistrot du Coin but the service can be terrible, and the place doesn’t seem very clean.

  • You guys are crazy. Yeah, they are priced a bit high, but their food is very tasty.

  • I found the food very underwhelming. And, the razor clams gave me a horrible stomach ache. Much prefer ghibelina, cork, estadio, doi moi, and st. ex to this place. But, it’s a truly gorgeous space!

  • *I have not eaten at Le Diplomate*

    But I can see how people in DC can be underwhelmed by even very well done French classics. I am often one of those people. This food is not extravagantly spiced, not particularly creative, and holds no novelty – much of which I often want in my food. Perfectly executed beef bourguignon? Good, but “it’s just beef stew.”

    • Yes, the DC palette is world renown to be superior to that of the French, especially Parisian. I can completely understand why sophisticated connoisseurs in this city would be underwhelmed by “even very well done French classics”.

      • Pretty sure you’re trying to be sarcastic, but I think your comment isn’t really off base. I’d say that the American dining scene (of which DC is a strong example) is the best in the world right now. The broad cuisine that’s come to be known as “New American” or whatever really is about the most forward-thinking stuff out there.

        America: Currently the best in the world at beer, wine, coffee, and food. Who would have thought?

        • I get what you’re saying. Once Le Diplomate converts itself to a Mexican-Korean fusion small plates restaurant, they may finally be capable of meeting the demands of your fine palate.

          • Negative. My two points are:

            1) French classics are subtle and not flashy. A lot of eaters in DC aren’t looking for this and/or aren’t used to it. In a lot of ways, appreciating that type of food requires a more sophisticated palate than appreciating Mexican-Korean fusion small plates. Hence my lack of surprise at some negative feedback about Le Diplomate – I am guessing that some of these people are in fact demanding eaters who have come to expect creativity and novelty from their food (for better or for worse).

            2) I will push back against the lazy, anachronistic, and all around inaccurate assumption that continental European food is inherently more sophisticated and all-around “better” than what the American culinary scene has to offer, especially when someone hides behind sarcasm that’s grounded in that assumption instead of actually talking about food.

            D) Maybe le Diplomate actually sucks; I’m simply discussing how standard French food fits into the DC eating landscape.

  • This is a really interesting thread – not the part about the chef leaving but the numerous people who say the food is underwhelming. I’ve not been to Le Diplomate yet, but given the hype I assumed it to be the best dining experience in the city. I’ve not heard any gripes about the food, just about how tough it is to get a table. But maybe there is a connection. If you have to wait weeks for a seat you’re expectations are going to be pretty high.

    • Not even close to best dining in the city, but nonetheless quite wonderful IMO. Starr Group is very successful, and part of that success comes from manufacturing hype. Plus, at this point, anything opening along 14th Street becomes a serious buzzworthy restaurant. Sometimes it’s justified and sometimes not.

      • i’ve never been to le diplomate, but i’d go not for the food, but because it looks gorgeous. atmosphere means more to me that great tasting food.

      • Absolutely. The press blitz leading up to this place opening was unprecedented. A lot of places that serve unspectacular food are wildly successful. And there are many examples of this in DC.

  • I went to a brilliant French restaurant in Montreal, L’Express, about 3 days before I went to Le Diplomate and I had expected that they would be similar. I was pretty underwhelmed by LD’s food, though the service was good. I had duck, and I LOVE duck like nothing else, but it was bland and the texture of the nuts and other things it was served with actually made it awkward to eat. Like, I was done chewing on the soft duck, but I still had a hard almond to finish chewing through. That said, my boyfriend really liked his meal at LD, I think as much if not more than his meal at L’Express.
    I’m sort of interested in going for brunch, but I’m in no hurry to go back for dinner.

  • Always been happy with LeDiplomate. Haters gonna hate…..

  • Le Diplomat has a DC-centric name but its essentially a reproduction of the very successful Parc restaurant in Philadelphia.

    I doubt the next chef will be asked to do anything more than make the prescribed dishes.

  • I sorta scooped PoP on this one as I’m an employee there.
    Adam is moving on to his own place not related to Starr. Things are in place to ensure quality doesn’t dip from his departure. Can’t imagine things would go haywire because he left, I’m looking forward to the coming summer menu update.
    (PS. Starr has leased a couple locations on U St)

Comments are closed.