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Le Diplomate Soft Opens in Logan Circle

by Prince Of Petworth April 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm 73 Comments

14th and Q St, NW

About a month ago we spoke with owner Stephen Starr and couldn’t wait to taste their bread (among other items.) The wait is over! Le Diplomate soft opened in Logan Circle over the weekend.


From a press release:

From Sunday 4/7 – Sunday 4/14, Le Diplomate will soft open to the public, serving its full menu for dinner and Saturday & Sunday brunch, and will offer a 10% discount off of food as the restaurant fine-tunes and prepares for opening. The restaurant will officially open on April 15th. Dinner hours are 5pm-10pm, Sunday – Tuesday, 5pm-11pm Wednesday & Thursday and 5pm – Midnight, Friday and Saturdays. Brunch hours are Saturday and Sundays from 11am – 3pm.


See more photos of the inside after the jump, plus a reminder of how the space looked back in 2010.







  • Anonymous

    the neighbors probably think that the demise of shirt laundry is a tragedy.

    i don’t.

    • JM

      Why do you say that?

      • T

        Not a secret that a group of neighbors in this area are trying to stop new development of restaurants and bars, pursuing a liquor license moratorium, etc.

        • B

          While some pushing for a liquor moratorium is no secret, it is also a very tiny group of people. From my experience, the vast majority of people are very happy to see all of the high quality establishments coming in around 14th Street. I am a very close neighbor (same block) as le Diplomate, and am thrilled they are here, as is everyone else I know around there. I am not aware of anyone who views the demise of the laundry as a tragedy.

          • Anonymous

            And of course the majority is alway right, and the minority is always wrong.

          • B

            Um, what’s with the snarky response, Anonymous?

          • leroy2387

            The guy in the tin foil hat’s got a point guys…

        • facts

          This establishment is not included in the area that would be covered by a moratorium on new liquor licenses.

          Also, the moratorium would drive new restaurant development outside of the moratorium zone to locations like this one.

          • T

            One of the proposals most definitely includes this location:


            And yes, it’s not all neighbors. (I myself am a neighbor who is enthused by the continuing development of 14th and U.) But there are in fact some folks who are opposed to these places opening up…

            It should be noted, by the way, that the Original Poster here was criticizing those folks. A sentiment I share.

    • Anonymous

      Wrong. Nobody misses that eyesore.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a neighbor, and I don’t.

  • Anonymous

    The decor reminds me of Balthazar in NYC. Hope the food is as good!

    • Anonymous

      Right??? I think that’s why I’m in love

    • reality dose

      Come on. No way will this be anywhere near as good as that joint in NYC, but it will definitely cost the same (if not more).

  • DF

    I went in on Saturday for a job interview. The place is gorgeous. The kitchen is HUGE and there are a ton of staff. Starr was there as well looking things over. BTW, bread is out of this world. Likely the best baguette in the city!

  • Phoebe

    Can anyone give ballpark price points? Such as average price for an entree or a cocktail? Not being judgy, just wondering where this falls along my budget-and-frequency-of-visiting equation.

  • Welcome neighbor!

  • Matt

    It looks like a wonderful place. here’s to hoping for delicious food and wonderful experiences when the rubber hits the road.

  • Anon

    Wow! DC is becoming not only gentrified but elegant. Holy crap!

  • bb

    Looks great. i love the shrubbery above the windows. This place is going to be a money factory.

  • LT

    Gorgeous! Every time I drive by I get a little tingly. It’s so different looking than anything else that’s opened in recent memory.

  • Caleb

    Had drinks and apps yesterday and it was great. The renovation is beautiful. Nice group of staff, very friendly and was run rather well for a soft opening–some kinks need to be worked still. The bread as mentioned above was delicious and we ate a few dozen oysters that were good as well. It’s definitely not priced for everyone, we paid about $200 for four of us. Can’t wait to go back for dinner.

  • Anonymous

    Is this somewhere I could bring my kid? I’m having a hard time figuring out if it’s fancy or laid back.

    • DF

      It’s pretty chill, but check out the menu beforehand. Nothing out there, but maybe not “kid friendly”.

      • Anonymous

        great time to start getting your kids excited about real food. Every kid should be able to find something on a classic French brasserie menu. Let them have at it!

  • reservations Friday evening , can’t wait . the place looks sensational! i’m a very close neighbor and can’t be more happy your here!

  • I was 100% focused on the food until I saw on the menu that they have Kronenbourg on tap. Amazing! Can’t wait to visit for dinner soon.

  • This place is absolutely gorgeous – they did an amazing job, it’s almost (almost) impossible to remember what that strip looked like previously. I’m so excited to go there – lots of decent vegetarian options, and it seems like you can eat as light or as heavy as you want, which is nice if you go with a few people.
    I am so happy that this turned out so beautifully.

    • When I moved to the District in 2009 – only 4 years ago – that strip smelled like piss and there were still homeless dudes everywhere (and the occasional hooker). As a newbie, I was told under no uncertain terms to avoid 14th at night.

      Pretty crazy that it’s changed so much in such a short period of time.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe in 2002, but 14th has been safe since I lived year since 2006.

        • I didn’t think it was that bad either; the homeless guys and the occasional street walker were harmless.

          Still, I was told by a number of people that to think twice before going there late at night on my own when I first moved here. My point is that opinions on the area have changed A LOT in a very short period of time.

          I don’t see the homeless guys much anymore. I wonder where they went?

          • Capistrano?

          • Anonymous

            Key West

          • Rococo

            There are many homeless people at 14th and P 24 hours a day, several sleep in front of the barber shop and cleaners on P. Every time I walk to and from Whole Foods there is at least one panhandler and usually 2 or 3.

          • I get your point Rococo, but in 2009, you could walk down 14th and see at least 15-20 homeless guys sleeping or panhandling in the stretch of only a few blocks. Yes, I still see one or two guys at 14th & P (or sleeping on the steps of the church next to Le Diplomate), but most of them are gone.

          • Rococo

            I’m under the assumption that the Central Union Mission had closed as a shelter and moved to a location by Judiciary Square, I don’t miss the smells.

        • anon

          What Anonymous 10:38 said.

          14th Street was pretty sketchy when I came to the D.C. area in 1998, but it’s been pretty tame since the mid-2000s.

          • Anonymous

            I miss the days like in 1992 when I had a Kentucky Derby party with a real live horse on T street and no one batted an eye.

      • Anonymous

        you should have seen it in 1986…. you don’t know about 14th street transformation

        • Rococo

          I’d love to hear more detail about what it was like pre-2004 other than the stock report of “It used to be hooker central.” Any good stories? Anything to describe about the drug scene that is unique?

          • Actually, 14th wasn’t “hooker central.” It was closer to Mass Ave and 14th; cars with Pennsylvania and Delaware plates would circle around the block for hours on a Friday night. As for the drug scene, before they tore down the old Children’s Hospital site at 13th and V in 1998, that’s where the crack “sex workers” would take their johns. It was pretty much nothing but mattresses, needles, pipes, and condoms with the penis still inside.


          • Rococo

            Thanks monkey! My mom worked at the children’s hospital in the late 60’s and I was never sure exactly where it was until reading that link. I try not to think about how I would be a real estate mogul right now had my parents not moved to the midwest before my entry to the world. Excellent color commentary from you, per usual.

          • Anonymous

            Hookers were usually lower on 14th St, for the most part -in the day porn shops et alia were based at 14th and Eye, most outdoor RX and general up to no good above Thomas Circle. 14th Street was mostly just gross, crime was on almost every street then – we just lived with it. Panhandling was excepeted as an honored and lucrative trade (smile) I never imagined ever that 14th St would be so nice (my word.)

            I think its fair to say Urban life was crusty in most cities prior to the mid 90’s. Bohemian, ethinic, artsy were the fads then, chic and expensive are a new thing.

          • Rococo

            Thanks anon, good stuff. I wish there had been documentaries chronicling street life in dc through the years. Thug Life in DC is ok but doesn’t really do it justice in my opinion. I’ve heard about a Post series from the 50’s called The Wickedest Precinct about Shaw but it seems I’ll need to read it through microfilm at a library.

          • Rococo


            This developer newsletter has some excerpts if anyone’s interested.

          • Anonymous

            I live at 13th and S and guests in the early 90s were always amazed that I knew our block ‘ho. She even knew my dogs name.

          • Anonymous

            Watch the 1979 movie “Being There.” Besides being a good movie, there are some scenes shot on the streets of DC, particularly 14th and Rhode Island Ave NW. (The corner that is now Caribou Coffee, I think.) Also of note off the top of my head: “DC Cab,” a terrible movie but you’ll see the Florida Avenue Grill and a lot of pre-gentrified DC streets, and “Mars Attacks” features the pre-restored Howard Theatre.

        • Anonymous

          And if you think 1986 was bad, you should’ve seen it in 1976!

          • You should have seen the piles of horse dung, muddy roads, and the tramps & drunks back in 1876!

            The street really lost its cred when they finally paved 14th Street. Damn yuppies.

          • Lord, and in 1276, it was all trees and wildlife and crap. You couldn’t even walk down the street without some breeze tousling your hair or some song bird asking you if you wanted to hear a song by a bird. What a shit hole.

          • manimal

            Reunite Gondwanaland.

  • Anonymous

    There’s no chevre chaud on that menu!

  • Anonymous

    To the moron who sarcastically wrote that “And of course the majority is alway right, and the minority is always wrong.”…you’re a moron.

    • Moron

      Haha. I wrote it. Just frame your argument in a better way next time.

    • B

      Thank you — I am the guy he was responding to, and I don’t get why my comment — simply noting that most people are very pleased to have this great new restaurant (and I live right by it!) and the other development around it — would generate hostility.

      • eyelessingaza

        Why did he write it? Because this is Washington DC–a city filled with more nerds than you can shake a stick at. No matter what you say–however correct you obviously are, however elegantly you write it–there will always be some asshole, like the type of person you absolutely hated growing up and in college, who will second guess and triple guess your every move. Then there are the other assholes who are on this site just to keep stirring the pot…

        • Anonymous

          Yea, totally maaaaan. This world is just full of assholes left and right, huh?

        • Moron

          I’m an asshole and you totally hate me for what I wrote?

          Such love for humanity!

  • Looks great, though $17 for 6 oysters on the half shell and $9 for a glass of pastis is a crime. IMHO.

    Otherwise, this place looks to be on the higher-end for restaurants on 14th Street. Which is not a bad thing, at all. It’s certainly more elegant than 90% of the places on 14th.

  • TG

    Reminds me of Brasserie Lipp in Paris. I think it looks fantastic.

  • Anonymous

    Philadelphia transplant, and I went for dinner last night. I thought it was even better than Parc. Everything was delicious. Also, it’s weird to be making a special note of this, but the butter (served with the bread) was the best butter I’ve tasted in a long while.

    • actually, not strange at all. butter is an incredibly important ingredient. pastries in the US are often heavy and clunky – rather than flaky and light. this is because of the butter. quality butter will greatly increase the quality of the plate.

  • Anonymous

    oh my goodness, it’s gorgeous! LOVE the yellow bistro chairs! I cannot WAIT to make this my favourite place…. Pray G-D the food is as good… love love LOVE

  • Had dinner Sunday night. Everything was amazing! The place is beautiful. This is an amazing addition to the neighborhood.

  • Hallelujah!

    That corner has been my vote for the biggest eyesore on 14th street for years! Looks like they spent some money and did a beautiful renovation. I hope they do well—-

  • anon

    Agree with poster who said this will be a money machine!! But the owner(s) deserve it for bringing what appears to be an awesome place to the ‘hood!!

  • Anonymous

    Had dinner last night- too long waits between courses, inexperienced unprofessional servers and the food was blah. Tried 7 items on the menu- not one worth returning for. Maybe I should have waited to try them?

    • Yelpper

      Maybe this is why we call it a soft opening?

    • Yeah

      You must be a blast at parties.

    • Anonymous

      yeah, in general if those things are important to you, you should wait a month after a place opens before checking it out.

  • Anonymous

    i just read that it cost 6.5 million to renovate. holy shit!


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