This weekend we caught up with some old friends over dinner at Le Diplomate. This relatively new French place in the Logans Circle area of DC has received a lot of good press and it was on our list for places to try. So when my best friend’s wife picked it for his surprise birthday gathering we were psyched on multiple levels.
The atmosphere was fun and the food was very good. Everyone (table of eight) was happy with their choices. I started with a salted cod appetizer — Brandade de Morue – that was simple and satisfying. My entree was an excellent veal escalope with spring onion and mushrooms in a light sauce. Gabriele enjoyed her sea bass entree very much, while thinking her steak tartare app could have been a bit more flavorful.
Le Diplomate being a French place we looked to France for the wine as well. Amusingly, the wine list referred to non-French wine as “Interpretations Internationales” – a Gallic insinuation that these were interpretations of what wine should taste like. Our half of the table wanted to start with a Bordeaux, so I started looking for a 09 or 2010 which were good years for Bordeaux.
I discussed with our waiter and he steered me to the 2008 Segla Margaux. A well regarded second label to Chateau Rauzan Segla, the wine was somewhat fruit forward (for a Bordeaux) and easy on the tannins. It also had some smoke and graphite, with a touch of minerals on the finish. It was good and went well with the food, but it wasn’t very good. I found myself wishing I had stuck to finding another year.
I did get the year I wanted for our second bottle. It was a 2009 Marquis Ravardel Chateauneuf-du-Pape, La Crau. This was a delicious CNP, with lots of dark fruit and not as much earthiness as some other Rhone vintages. Both wines were fairly priced, looking to be at or just under 2x retail. Kudos to Le Diplomate on this front, and I wish more places made it easier to order good wine without punitive markups.
Service was attentive and skilled. Le Diplomate is a loud place, and we were seated at a long table. So if you’re bringing a group you may want to keep that in mind. Other than that, it was a quality experience and we plan to be back.
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