Friday, July 13, 2007

You Want How Much for Green Bean Salad, Mac and Cheese, and Succotash?

After our Fourth in D. C. I had reserved a night at the Inn in Little Washington for us on the Fifth.

The Inn at Little Washington.

It is widely regarded as one of the finest Inns and Restaurants in America. It is also in the town where my father went to high school. Located in Rappahannock County Virginia, Little Washington is one of the oldest towns in Virginia. It was laid out by George Washington in 1749, and exists much as it was laid out.

My father's mother, according to family history, was descended from Revolutionary War General Nathan Greene. The farm at Massies Corner, just outside Little Washington was where my father lived while attending Washington High School. I had as a child visited the then abandoned farm house and walked through the disused house, spring house, and ice house. The smoke house I had heard so much about was completely gone. The spring house was where my great great grandmother hid the family silver from the Yankees.

We spent the morning traveling through the Virginia countryside and the afternoon exploring Little Washington. Janet at the Rappahannock County Historical Society was very helpful to us, even if we weren't very helpful to her. I promised to check our family records and get back to her.

The real reason most people stay at The Inn is to eat dinner. I figured it was something I needed to do for Her and it might be fun.

Just before going to D. C. I heard Tom Fitzmorris say the "Washington in a great restaurant town but not a great food town. They just don't get it."

My father always told me he remembered it as a Ford garage. It now looks more like an English country home with low ceilings.

I prepared for dinner like I imagine a gladiator or a bull fighter would prepare for the main event. It was also a little like preparing for the prom. Just before the appointed time we walked down the stairs and into the living room. We had a cocktail, a Daiquiri with dark rum.

I noted a momentary look of astonishment in our waiters eyes. He recovered and I think decided to figure out what we ordered. The drinks delivered were just excellent (I know purists think there should be no cocktails before dinner).

Our Table, Second From the Left.

We were given personalized menus and selected two for Column A and one from Column B. A slight twist on the old Chinese menu.

The dinner started with amuses-bouche consisting of four tastes;
  • A beet mouse,
  • A shrimp with avocado,
  • Tuna in pastry shell
  • Something else I can't remember
I ordered;
  • Green Bean Salad
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Rock Fish with Succotash
Dinners includes dessert.

I had the Seven Deadly Sins which includes seven miniature deserts with lots of chocolate and ice cream. The last and best (for me) was a mint ice cream with a shell chocolate topping.

The coffee was excellent, and not included in the prix fixe.

I am having a little fun with the menu, but every dish was beautifully and elaborately prepared with a range of exotic ingredients. The food was very good and the dinner was memorable. The attention to detail was phenomenal. The service included personalized menus and a carnation for my lapel. They said they did it for all their male guests. I think I read the dining room seats about 80, there are twenty something rooms in the Inn. I guess many people stay in the three or four bed and breakfasts in town. I doubt many people drive back to Washington and there really isn't much around, its really out in the country, but its very beautiful country.

It was by far the most expensive dinner for two I've ever had.

I could hardly fail to notice the people around us were a little strange since the tables were only about twelve inches apart.

On my left was a Japanese man dining alone. He had the tasting menu with wine parings. He apparently spoke little English but photographed every dish as it was served.

On my right was a couple women, obviously celebrating one's birthday. They were staying 3 nights. I'm not sure what you do in Little Washington for two days. Since they had started dinner before us so we didn't see their entire meal. What we saw looked great. They're why I got the Seven Deadly Sins.

Our Dinner was wonderful and the Sommelier was very cordial and attentive even though She ordered a very modest, though tasty, Virginia wine.

The Inn was however a little dissonant. There were constant nice touches, like when we went to Diner we left a bottle of champagne in our room for later. When we got back upstairs there was the Inn's traditional little flask of port with two glasses. The champagne had also been placed in an ice bucket and two glasses. That was nice. They also kept leaving us little gift cards for $25 off at their gift shop across the street. I wasn't sure if that was a promotion or an gift. I sometimes found the service a little oppressive. I'm not sure I want to be greeted by name and asked if there is anything they can do for me every single time I walked down the stairs. Everyone knew me by name and every time we left our room 'they' cleaned up. The front of house staff lurked about and seemed a little too eager. The maids seemed almost terrified to see a guest.

I though it just a little creepy. She loved it.

1 comment:

Sophmom said...

Extremely cool review, Mominem. I've always wanted to go there. You're right, it's beautiful country.