Like I said before, Le Diplomate has turned me into some crazed addict who desperately needs and craves their bread. Despite so many new restaurants opening in my neighborhood, I find myself returning to this warm, bustling brasserie time and time again.
After a brutally hilly ten mile race in 38 degree weather the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I was feeling just a little famished. My sister, AC, and I decided to head to brunch in DC. On the drive there, I started thinking about how badly I wanted some delicious bread to fill my grumbling stomach. When AC said she had made reservations for Farmers, Fishers and Bakers, I literally handed her my cell phone and told her to cancel immediately cancel the brunch there and call Le Diplomate instead. She was a little hesitant, but once I started whining and muttering “the bread, the bread” to her over and over, she relented. Le Diplomate did not have open reservations when she called, but once we arrived there thirty minutes later, they actually had a table available for us on their covered patio.
I immediately asked for the bread as soon as we sat down, and I assume the waiter say the crazed look in my eyes because he hurried off and quickly brought us a basket of their baguette, raisin loaf, and wheat bread. AC started with the wheat (#amateur) while I dove straight into the raisin loaf. When she saw me spreading their soft butter all over the delicious slice, she turned her attention to the raisin bread and we scarfed down the most of that first basket in no time.
As usual, the service was fantastic. Our server took the time to go over the brunch menu with us, and answered all of our questions patiently (“what’s your favorite dish?” “how is the prosciutto?” “can you describe this to me?” “how big is the serving?” “can you help me pick between these two dishes?”). After ten minutes of grilling him, we finally made our selections: the Eggs Boudin Noir and the Poached Eggs Basquaise. We also asked for a second basket of bread.
AC ordered the Eggs Boudin Noir, which consisted of eggs cooked en cocotte, boudin noir (blood sausage), asparagus, apples and a side of grilled bread. AC is already a big fan of blood sausage, but she especially like the boudin noir in this dish. I actually do not like boudin noir that much, but I really enjoyed the bite I took out of her dish. It was so tender and surprisingly light, and the strong flavor of the sausage was carefully balanced out by the sweetness of the apples. And of course, as I have previously mentioned, I have a soft spot for runny eggs in any dish.
My dish, the Poached Eggs Basquaise, arrived in a little cast iron skillet full of creamy polenta, sundried tomatoes, two poached eggs and was topped with crispy prosciutto. I have actually have ordered this dish before, and loved it so much I could not bring myself to order something else. Just like the first time, it was heavenly. The polenta is just so incredibly creamy, and the prosciutto adds a wonderful crunch to this rich dish. I slurped up this dish using the baguette as a spoon.
Good thing we were in the corner because we kept making these strange murmuring sounds of satisfaction throughout our meal. And then every time the waiter came around and asked if we were enjoying our meal, we screamed back “YESSS!” I do not think we could have expressed our enthusiasm for our food any more intensely without scaring the other patrons (this is assuming that we had not already scared the people sitting next to us).
Over the course of our two hours there, we plowed our way through a total of three bread baskets (asking for the raisin loaf and the the baguette each time), and over two and a half bowls of butter. Shockingly, by the end of the meal, we did not have room for dessert. This almost never happens. When eating together, we always make a point to have dessert but after all of that bread, our stomachs just could not accommodate another bite of food. Our walk back to my apartment allowed us some time to digest (about 1/100th of our meal), and gave time for AC to truly appreciate the amazingness that is Le Diplomate. I have successfully converted another person into a fan!