Looking for a piece of Pair-ee close to home without hopping on a plane? Look no further than Le Diplomate – a classy and cozy café nestled in the heart of the up-and-coming Shaw neighborhood in Washington, D.C.
Le Diplomate pays homage to French café culture and offers an extensive menu for brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night sips. Full of baked goods, cappuccinos, and classic favorites such as Onion Soup Gratinée, Steak Frites, and Ratatouille, diners can also choose from plateaus of oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail and chilled lobster while situated in a warm, comfortable, and Parisian – perfect atmosphere. On our trek to find the perfect burger on a Saturday night, Le Diplomat immediately came to mind. We know what you’re thinking: burgers have the U.S. of A written all over them! Technically, yes but the chef over at Le Diplomate nailed this all American dish. Le Dip is home to the Queen of all burgers (in our humble opinion.)
Before we describe our magnificent burger encounter, we will depict our visit to Le Diplomat from the moment we walked through the door to the very (delicious) end. Here we go!
Upon entering the restaurant, we stepped across beautiful, intricate mosaic tiles that lined the floor – each room a different pattern – as we were led to our table. Immediately, a friendly and knowledgeable waiter approached our table with fresh bottled water and a basket of crusty baguettes and artisan breads, made fresh in-house, with a side of chilled, whipped butter.
After an extended period of time spent looking over the menu tying to decide what we wanted (did we mention the waiter was also extremely patient?) we chose the Burger Américain – a favorite among Washingtonians – that consists of two thick slices of melted American cheese between two thin, juicy patties, while a Thousand Island – like sauce, red onion rings, and pickle slices skim the top of a freshly house-baked brioche bun (The American and French flag toothpicks are the perfect finishing touch).
While the burger in its own right should be praised, we can’t possibly forget about the pommes frites! These perfectly-fried and salted shoe-string fries of goodness are the perfect accompaniment.
Now, if you know the ECC’s, you know we can’t go to such anestablishment and not try a handcrafted signature cocktail. This occasion was no different!
We ordered a “Berry 75” containing Armagnac, lemon fresh blackberry, and sparkling wine:
And a “Sazerac” cocktail that consisted of rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, and absinthe rinse:
As we sipped and chatted while taking our time to enjoy each savory bite, our waiter remained extremely attentive, and reminded us to relax and take as much time as we needed (which is a refreshing change from other restaurants that like to get as many people in and out as quickly as possible). One of Le Diplomate managers also approached our table to make sure everything tasted up-to-par and we were satisfied with our choices.
When we finally finished and asked for the check, we politely declined dessert (we were SO full!) The waiter returned with two spoons and a smile (and no check.) What could this be? We waited for a few more moments, and to our surprise, out came a giant crème brulee and four Mirletons (almond flour and citrus petite gateau with fresh cranberry)– complimentary of Le Diplomate.
Atop the rich, custard base was a perfectly crusted layer of hard caramel. The filling was just the right temperature, and the crust was flaky, sugary, and full of flavor.
The mini-pastries were crusty and sweet on the outside, but tart and moist in the middle. A simple berry was placed in the middle of each and lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
If you are searching for a restaurant with the perfect balance of unique food, class, and sophistication, you will find it in Le Diplomate. It’s our little piece of France in the heart of the nation’s capital – and it can be yours, too.