Live in Washington long enough, and you’ll see some naughty behavior. This is a town that’s seen three impeachments, two fake wars, one attempted coup, and too many sex scandals to count — and that’s just the last four administrations. But if you happened to be at D.C.’s sceniest restaurant last Friday night, you might have seen something truly shocking.
That night, a Real Housewife of New York by the name of Luann de Lesseps was having dinner at Le Diplomate, the Stephen Starr brasserie on 14th Street. President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have stopped for lunch there. CNN correspondents treat the place like their cafeteria. It’s constantly teeming with the capital’s thirstiest climbers. The Countess, as de Lesseps is apparently known, was in D.C. for her traveling Christmas cabaret show. She and her posse stopped in at Le Dip, as Washingtonians call it; ordered a seafood tower and copious amounts of Grey Goose; racked up a tab of over $500; and then, according to eyewitnesses, did something that even the griftiest of pols wouldn’t dare: They bounced. No tip, no nothing.
“They said they were going to smoke a cigarette, and that’s what they told their server, but they had taken all their stuff with them and they just left,” says Brandy Blasko, a 39-year-old professor of criminal justice who was seated in the same section as de Lesseps. “We had been talking to her server throughout the night — he was being so attentive to them — there weren’t too many people left in the restaurant at this point, so we saw everything,” says Blasko. “We were there for another hour or so and she never came back.” Blasko says the manager and server were gobsmacked. A different member of the wait staff who worked that night says, “The server didn’t know what happened. It had to get comped … It affects our tips, and he probably lost money because of that.”
Reached by phone, Starr would neither confirm nor deny. De Lesseps passed along this statement: “I enjoyed a beautiful dinner after my sold-out show at a great restaurant, with my team, and there was an unfortunate misunderstanding which was resolved immediately and ‘All I Wanted for Christmas?’ was a seafood tower.” (By “immediately,” she means Monday — after my initial call to her publicist — per a copy of the receipt that was shared with me. She ultimately tipped 22 percent.)
I know nothing about Real Housewives except that it seems to be a show that revolves around confrontations in white-tableclothed restaurants. I consulted New York’s in-house Housewives historian, Wolfgang Ruth, who says, “This totally adds up, as Ms. de Lesseps once (allegedly, by another once-Housewife) dodged a check via a televised surfing outing that she was ‘invited’ to — and later, over cocktails (not related), was reminded of the affair.” This is getting more convoluted than the Starr report. Perhaps Blasko summed it up best: “I just thought it was so shitty.”