After several years of hosting European friends at the best restaurants in DC, we decided to take the plunge and go to the Inn at Little Washington. While DC has some very fine establishments, the Inn is in a class by itself.
From the very warm and friendly greeting at the door, through a multi-course dinner we were always coddled and cosseted but never felt overwhelmed. Service is the most distinctive part of the experience (food was great too, but more later on that). The Inn has that rare ability to make you feel welcome and cherished as a customer but without the snooty attitude of so many fine restaurants. Part of this is due no doubt to the fact that the Inn is also a hotel and used to dealing with guests, but the country atmosphere helps too so a little casualness does not feel out of place.
The menu is always changing and inventive (I've dined here 5 times now and there was always something new). While the a-la-carte menu is very good, go for broke and have the tasting menu. It may seem daunting to have an 11 course meal, but the portions are small and you will feel satisfied and not bloated by the end. I'd also suggest the wine pairing as you will have some unusual wines that go very well with each dish. If you wish, the wine list has some amazing bottles and a top notch sommolier to guide you, but that same sommolier has chosen the wine pairings, so either way you won't go wrong.
One item that I hope never goes away is the popcorn with truffle that starts the evening. Odd you say--well you'll never be satisfied with regular popcorn again after tasting this version. It even comes in its own little circus box so let the fun begin! Course after course arrived in a leisurely (but it didn't feel slow) manner. Some real standouts in a sea of greatness were the shot of autumn soup with a most delicious little cigar shaped nibble. The scallops were to die for and if you only do the a-la-carte make sure you have that if it is on the menu. If there was a let-down I'd say it was the dessert. Not chocolate lol. It was good, a cobbler type thing but it felt a little mundane after the rest.
They even give you a little goodie box in the shape of the Inn to nibble on the way home--or to save for the next day to rekindle the good memories you will have from your visit.
Is it worth the drive from DC--a resounding YES!!!!!
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