In sum, not really. This Darren Starr venue is one of 14th street’s hottest restaurants, with an endless waitlist and an overcrowded bar. The question is: Why?
The place is so loud and crowded, you better be prepared to scream across the table to your dining partners. Service is slow at times, probably due to the crowd. And the food is, well, mediocre.
A mushroom tart is hearty, with freshly baked puffed pastry, an earthy medley of mushrooms, cheese, and fresh herbs. But ravioli is bland, with a grainy and mealy filling and a plain, too sweet tomato sauce. Macaroni au gratin is extremely heavy, and for some reason is served as an appetizer while it is really a side dish or even a main course. Escargot is also under seasoned and lacking in the garlic butter sauce it is usually drenched in. Expect a measly 6 pieces, despite the astronomical price of the dish. Mussels and oysters are among some of the better menu items, although you may not get as much of each item as you were expecting.
Unfortunately, what makes the situation worse is the obscene prices. Be prepared to fork over some serious cash if you are ordering more than one course and drinks.
Too expensive for a casual dinner with friends, and too loud for a date night, this venue isn't really a go to spot for any occasion. And beware of the bar: not only is it packed, but bartenders could not care less about how long you are waiting for your drink.
Le Diplomate, 1601 14th St Northwest Washington, DC 20009, (202) 332-3333