100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Le Diplomate

Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The hottest new restaurant of the year is not a trip to Paris—no bistro in the City of Lights actually looks like this, though some besotted heads have come away insisting the space is more Parisian than being in Paris. Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr spent a reported $6 million to fashion a fantasy, down to the distressed floorboards and carefully stained “nicotine” ceiling. The cooking is often as immaculately constructed as the space. Adam Schop and Michael Abt’s lineup of bistro classics may not yield much in the way of surprise, but that’s because he and Starr are aiming for the eminently crowd-pleasing: a textbook hanger steak drenched in herbed butter and sided with crunchy fries, a gloriously smooth chicken-liver mousse, a massive crème brûlée made with what tastes like a carton’s worth of eggs. Of course, you could just munch on the superlative breads while luxuriating in the set piece of a room—and walk away content.

Open: Monday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.

Don’t Miss: Foie gras terrine; radishes with butter and bread; tête de veau (calf’s head); grilled loup de mer with tapenade; cheeseburger; roast chicken; grapefruit coupe de glace; chocolate napoleon.

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