It's been officially open for less than week, but reservations at Le Diplomate, the sparkling new French restaurant at 14th and Q streets NW, are already extremely scarce. OpenTable lists some very limited availability if you don't mind eating dinner at 5 or 9:30 p.m., but if your party of two happens to be walking by on a weeknight, leave your cell number at the host stand. With luck, you'll receive a text message 45 or so minutes later. Another tip: Request a table on the Q Street patio. It’s a treat on a perfect April evening.
The menu is classic French. When moules frites ($17.50) arrive at the table, the bowl is steaming with plump mussels drenched in a butter broth with sage leaves. The frites, presented in a silver cone and wrapped in parchment paper, are matchbook-thin and nicely salted. A huge slab of apple tart ($8) is served with both vanilla ice cream and creme fraiche.
Le Diplomate looks and feels like another French bistro, New York’s Balthazar, and will no doubt be just as popular in D.C. this year.