After our lovely lunch, we walked around the town some more before returning back to our bed and breakfast for some downtime before dinner. There wasn't much to do so we decided to play some good ol' fashioned Scrabble where I proceeded to beat Mr. M&P. Yes! I'm still champion! After I did my victory dance, we went to get ready. A little before we headed out for our meal, the owner of the bed and breakfast gave us some tips about the restaurant. At the Inn at Little Washington, the waiters and hosts watch your every expression discretely. So if you're dissatisfied with something, they will know immediately. They will be there by your side to correct anything that may have made you furrow your brow. They want each and every patron to leave with the notion that they exceeded any and all expectations. That's service for you.
So we sat down in a cozy area of the restaurant. It was the dead of winter and I was wearing a sleeveless dress. I thought I might be cold but the roaring fireplaces helped alleviate that. The waiter came over and happily welcomed us to the restaurant. He described a few things then left us to look over the menu. We went with the regular 4 course tasting menu ($178) while there was also a Gastronaut's menu ($228) as well. With the tasting menu, we were allowed to choose our dishes. The Gastronaut menu was pre planned by the chef.
*Editor's note: I'd like to menu that each and every menu is personalized and then handed to the patron at the end of the night.*
After we made our choices, the amuse bouche came out to play. From left to right, we had: fig with Virginia ham and cheese, braised pork belly with apple, and chips and dip with sweet onion mousse with chives and caviar. The ham was so delicious. Real intense pork flavor with the sweetness of the fig and the creaminess of the cheese. The pork belly was rich but quivered from being cooked low and slow and paired really nicely with the freshness of the apple. The chips and dip was our favorite. It reminded us of sour cream and onion chips but much more sophisticated. Savory, briny, creamy, fresh, and crunchy. Everything just worked so perfectly. This was an extremely happy start of the meal.
Right before our first course came out, bread service came around. We picked from a variety of fresh baked dinner loaves. And then the butter came to the table. Room temperature butter with warm bread is a major plus for us. And the Inn at Little Washington delivered. Warm bread split open then smeared with a good helping of creamy luscious butter. In fact, the butter was so good that we asked the waiter about it. Surprisingly, the butter was unsalted. Unsalted! What?! How can that be? It was so flavorful. Well, he goes on to tell us about their very own dairy cow in Orwell, VT named Sasha. In fact, the farm is called...wait for it...Animal Farm. Get it? I thought that was awesome. Anyway, Sasha the cow is treated very well and all the flavor in the butter comes from the feed its given. It's a true testament to how food will taste if your take care of it from the beginning stages to the end.
*Editor's note: After the trip, I looked up Animal Farm in Orwell, VT. They provide dairy including butter to some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country. I'm talking about French Laundry, Per Se, No. 9 Park, etc. It's worth checking out (http://www.animalfarmvt.com/about/).*
Okay, now onto the plated dishes of the night. For his first course, Mr. M&P had the carpaccio of herb crusted baby lamb loin with caesar salad ice cream. How pretty was this? Thinly sliced lamb (so thin that you can see through it) seasoned perfectly with a wonderful play on a classic caesar salad. He loved it and I loved the bite that I had. This was really impressive.
The Inn at Little Washington
309 Middle Street
Washington, VA 22747