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Meet Stephen Starr of Le Diplomate, Coming to Logan Circle, and Learn the Secret to their Amazing Bread

by Prince Of Petworth March 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm 41 Comments

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Stephen Starr

A few weeks ago I noted the progress at Le Diplomate coming to the former laundry at the corner of 14th and Q St, NW in Logan Circle. At that time they were hoping for a mid-March opening but after having a peek a couple days ago, I’d say an April opening is probably more likely. Of course, after hearing about the plans – the earlier they open the better! In addition to getting a look at the progress the space:

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I was also lucky enough to have a chat with owner Stephen Starr (pictured above.) But first a peek at the terrace on Q street:

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While I’m loving the copper on the outside – you can tell that the inside is gonna be amazing as well:

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Ok back to Mr. Starr. He was kind enough to share a few details about his plans for Le Diplomate. While Le Diplomate is inspired by Parc in Philadelphia, Starr tells me that Le Diplomate will have a far more intimate feel. He hopes for the restaurant to be a true neighborhood go to spot. Since Le Diplomate will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – he imagines neighbors could stop by 3-4 times a week.

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From the files of “I did not know that” before becoming a restauranteur, Mr. Starr was a concert promoter and would regularly come to the DC area. As far back as 1995 he knew he wanted to open a spot in DC but things just “kept growing in Philly”. A few years ago he was intensively looking for space in DC but was mostly steered towards modern glass office buildings which wasn’t his style. Fortunately, on one of those trips he happened to drive by the vacant laundry at 14th and Q Streets and thought it would make for the perfect location for a restaurant. At that time the space was unavailable so a DC project was delayed until a couple years later when he got the call that the space was now free. And so here we are surrounded by construction with the restaurant really starting to come together.

Continues after the jump.

While the space will be more intimate than Parc, the menu (though still in development) will be “more adventurous”. I was told we can look forward to the “best seafood plateau in the city.” The seafood plateau will consist of crabs, oysters, clams, lobster, and lots more from all over the world. And the extensive raw bar will also allow these items to be ordered individually. According to their website:

“The extensive menu features a variety of classic dishes including Onion Soup Gratinee, Steak Frites, and Poulet Roti as well as contemporary bistro fare, with dishes such as Shaved Veal Tongue with Mache and Bavette de Boeuf à l’Echalote.”

The menu is likely to be completed in the next week or so at which point I’ll post for us to see. Now on to the bread.

Le Diplomate will feature an on site bakery. And after having tasted the bread at Parc I was eager to know if they planned to replicate the incredible baguettes. And thankfully they will. Starr says they have a secret weapon that makes this possible. Like the equivalent of a Sushi master – Starr has a “dough master from France.” He regularly monitors all the bread recipes and tweaks them when needed, usually every few months. And there you have the secret to Starr’s amazing bread – the dough master.

Oh yeah, if he finds the right space and Le Diplomate is a success get ready for Starr to open a second restaurant in DC. Based on what I’ve seen and heard, I’d say that is a very safe bet.

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Rendering via Le Diplomate

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