This one night mini vacation took us 75 minutes outside of the Washington, D.C. area to a tiny town of less than 200 hundred people and an extraordinary dining experience usually found in New York City or the San Francisco Bay Area. The Inn at Little Washington has been a bucket list item of mine for years, so what better way to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary and our 10th annual 30th birthdays after several months of COVID-19 quarantine!
Chef Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington is one of fourteen top rated, Michelin three-star restaurants (“exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey”) in the United States in 2020.
Social distancing at the inn means that some guests will dine among mid-century dressed mannequins to avoid vacant tables in parts of the dining room, however, we were seated 6 feet apart from other humans at the time of our visit. The service was impeccable with great attention to detail throughout the two and a half hour meal, starting with a personalized menu!
They offer two tasting menus and allowed customization depending on your dietary preferences. The meal started with two complimentary small bites, a pimento stuffed potato “chip” with chive and an elegant corn dish that was so light and airy that it reminded me of rice pudding, except without the rice. I need to learn how to describe really good food.
After the small bites, the meal progressed with the first of two cold appetizers. We both started with tuna in a black truffle vinaigrette. One with foie gras and one without (pictured below). It was served with house made cheesy ritz crackers and a French Brut as the wine pairing.
The inn’s cheese specialist keeps diners entertained with his cheesy puns and Faira, the mooing, bell ringing, cheese-bearing cow. Definitely worth swapping out one of the desserts for a five piece selection of “udderly” delicious cheeses.
For the second cold appetizer, I enjoyed a lemon-scented panna cotta with roasted eggplant puree and basil ice cream and my husband selected one of the inn’s specialties, a herb-crusted lamb carpaccio with Caesar salad ice cream. Savory ice cream at the start of the meal for the win! They were both delicious and paired well with the wine selection.
The appetizer portion of the meal finished with a fennel-dusted Pacific Halibut over garden vegetables and a Sambuca broth. This was the star of the meal and we both agreed that we would eat entree portions of this meal if we could! The Austrian wine pairing will be added to the shopping list for the wine store.
Next up were the main dishes: a prosciutto-wrapped veal tenderloin with Taleggio cheese and cracked pepper ravioli in tomato cream sauce and a crispy ratatouille napoleon on sweet corn polenta for me. They were paired with two different Italian wines.
We were presented with two different sorbets (grapefruit on the left and coconut on the right) as we transitioned into dessert. Happy Birthday to us!
The birthday celebration transitioned into dessert and Happy Anniversary wishes. We shared the lemon meringue tartlet with toasted pistachios and blackberry frozen yogurt and a selection of cheeses that we selected earlier from Faira’s cart.
The treats just kept coming. Chocolate with sea salt and nuts accompanied by candied oranges AND a to go box of treats were the perfect final touches to a truly memorable meal.
The food was spectacular. The service was remarkable. Head on over to my Washington, Virginia page to read more about what we did and where we stayed.
Question: Have you been to a Michelin star rated restaurant? What was your experience like?