MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Set 90 minutes from DC in a town whose very existence seems tied to the restaurant, The Inn at Little Washington is a destination in every sense of the word. Embellished to the last inch, the dining room resembles a jewelry box lined with patterned carpets, lush wallpaper, heavy drapes and bejeweled upholstery. Servers are knowledgeable and warm; the room is conducive to conversations. This is a civilized affair for sophisticated patrons celebrating a special occasion. The restaurant may be 40 years old, but Chef Patrick O’Connell’s cuisine shines as brightly as ever. The three menus each have a unique focus: “Enduring Classics” are updated signatures; “Gastronaut” reflects the kitchen’s ambitions; and “The Good Earth” offers superb vegetarian items. Guests can also traipse through all three for a full sense of what this kitchen can do. Their extraordinary focus on detail and sourcing is clear from the start in the BLT-inspired amuse-bouche with heirloom tomato gelée, or the excellent rye bread smeared with honeycomb butter. Sauces work a particular magic, as seen in the truffle-infused tartar with morel “crabcake.” Desserts like coconut sorbet with ginger granité are perfection.