100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Le Diplomate

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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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.