NY Hound coming to D.C. in 2 weeks
OK-I've got the reservations booked- Citronelle, CityZen, Maestro and Inn at little Washington. That was easy. Now the hard part-must try dishes at each?
I'm going to warn you in advance that we have eaten at IALW twice now and both times the food was good, but we were underwhelmed. It's an experience for sure, but we never found the food to be that spectacular.
One thing you might add if you're going to have a car is 2941 out in Falls Church. Gorgeous space doing some very unique things.
I seriously hope I don't sound discouraging but it is my opinion the Inn likely reached it's peak twenty years ago. The cuisine while good and cooked with excellent products is a bit stagnant now and has not evolved much. Example: The Pan Roasted Maine Lobster with Grapefruit, Orzo and Citrus Butter Sauce has been on the menu close to twenty years. Along with a few other items on their website.
If you have never been I'm sure it will be a memorable experience. A wonderful and welcome escape even if a bit lost in time. Which sometimes in todays world is a attraction in itself!
At Citronelle, the "Breakfast for Dessert" course is quite creative.
As for the Inn: yes the menu may be a little stale but it's still an experience. The Gregorian-chant-filled deluxe kitchen is an eye-opener. I've eaten there about a half dozen times, and if it's in your budget I would recommend staying overnight. That way you can fully experience the sumptuous privacy and service, and enjoy one of the best breakfasts you've ever had.
Personally, I agree with the disappointment of the Inn. Having eaten there a few times over the last year I can honestly say that I was a little disappointed for what you get for the $, especially being a NYC transplant.
We moved to NoVa two years ago after living and working in NYC for 10 years and quite honestly I would take Daniel or French Laundry over IALW. If you want to make a trip out from DC, I would suggest Foti's in Culpeper (about 25 mins closer to DC than the Inn). As Fotis is only been open just shy of 2 years and the chef was the Executive Sous at IALW for 8 years. Quite frankly I would proably suggest Fotis along with any of the others in your list.
Actually, if I was you I would consider revamping your list entirely and stay away from the big names and try the up and comers, namely Restaurant Eve and 2941. Now Foti's, IALW (for the experiece as I am sure they will be closing within the next few years), Restaurant Eve and 2941.... now thats what I call a GREAT few days of eating.
At Citronelle, there are very few things I would pass up. It's very easy to go on and on about which are wonderfully creative and delicious.
So the easier thing is to tick off a couple of things that I think are over-rated and not worth the hype... There are two longstanding things I would pass up in favor of other choices:
> Lobster Burger: I thought this was only on the menu in the lounge/bar, but it looks like it might be on the full chef's menu... not nearly as good as the tuna burger (which is only on the lounge menu)
> Chocolate Three Ways: This is a "classic" but the other desserts are far more creative and tasty