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Jul 22, 2007 07:17 AM

Inn at Little Washington

I was just reading a post on the manhattan board regarding worst meals. Someone posted that they were very disappointed with their recent meal at the inn. We are looking forward to celebrating our 30th ann. there in oct. Has anyone else had a similiar experience or perhaps a better one. Would love some feedback.

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  1. My Mother and Brother just went recently without me (I still can't believe that!) and they said it was incredible. They really enjoyed their dinner there. It gets mixed reviews on here. I think sometimes people just go in with expectations that it is going to be the meal of their life and if one thing is off then well...

    1. The Inn at Little Washington is one of the very very few restaurants in the United States that has a 29 rating for food (an extremely rare rating) - actually their ratings for atmosphere and service are extremely high too (28 for both). Usually anything over 26 is outstanding. I believe Pellegrino (a world wide group of many Critiques) has even voted Inn at Little Washington to be the Best Restaurant in the World in past years. TIALW also has so many awards that I've heard that there is a hall where the walls are completely filled with awards that the restaurant has won. Also, If I'm not mistaken, Chef O'Connell has won James Beard Awards - sort of the Acadamy Awards for restaurants. Also, First Lady Laura Bush chose the TIALW to celebrate her 60th birthday with close friends within the past year. I have never been to TIALW, but from all I've heard and read it's one of the very best places to eat in the world. If you've read less then flattering reviews - bear in mind that people generally expect near-perfection when they are shelling out huge huge amounts of money for a single meal. I priced them a while back - I believe it would cost something like $450 for my Fiance and I to eat there, but I'm still considering it.

      1. IALW has become a Big Fat Target. It's been around for a long time, become so well known and received so many accolades that there are those who just can't help themselves. They're willing to drive out to the middle of nowhere, plunk down their $150 plus tax, tip, cost of alcohol, etc. for the opportunity to find that it doesn't live up to their personal standards. Obviously everyone else has been wrong all along and they're eager to spread the word through their blogs and on message boards. Notice how that usually includes name-dropping the other high-ends places they've eaten? Oh, and how much the bottle of wine cost? Impressed, huh? I suppose that gives them some kind of ego boost.

        IALW is a lovely restaurant with excellent service. They have maintained exceptionally high standards over many years which is why they have drawn repeat business from a devoted clientele and from those celebrating special events. No, it's not ground-breaking trendy, tasting-menu cuisine. If you want an adrenalin rush, you won't find it on the menu but if you want a memorable place to celebrate your anniversary, IALW is an excellent choice.
        If you go looking for a romantic evening with excellent food and service to match, you'll be very happy at IALW. If you're in the mood for target shooting, any place will do.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense

          That's what I was hoping to hear, shame on me for worrying! We're really looking forward to being at the Inn for fall foliage, wonderful accommodations, and of course great food.

          1. re: MakingSense

            that's not fair. my parents and brother and his gf at the time went a few years ago and were really disappointed. they don't blog, i don't even think they told anyone but they just didn't think it was all that special for the drive and the price tag. and they didn't really love the atmosphere either. all 4 of them. i don't think it's fair to say people only don't like it to be snobbish because none of them are (well except maybe the ex-gf, never got to know her too well!).
            that said i doubt it's a bad place or undeserving of praise - obviously lots of people like it - and i certainly hope that if berna spends an anniversary there they do - but it's not fair to bash people who don't.

          2. I have been to the Inn a few times, and I've always been pleased with the food. I will always remember the tuna with seared foie gras.

            The service at the Inn is good, not perfect, but no major issues. For instance I ordered coffee and it was forgotten. Some people may think this is a big deal and others will not.

            The one issue I do have with the Inn is they pack in the people, particulary in the garden room. I don't think this is unique to the Inn. Many fine dining places practice high density seating. I do think, however, that a lot of people think a county inn will offer more privacy than the Inn does.

            1. The expectations are heightened by the price tag and the ledgend of TIALW - not to mention the basis of comparison that some of it's Clientel have (many of these people have eaten at many big name places). You cannot deny the experiences of others, but personally, I would love to eat there. You're taking something of a risk by going to ANY restaurant that you haven't eaten at before.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                Here is more evidence regarding the worthiness of TIALW. They are listed in the Top 50 Restaurants in the United States from Gourmet Magazine 2006. They are number 23. The evidence is quite overwhelming.

                1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                  Uh . . . to what "quite overwhelming" evidence are you referring? The fact that The Inn is on the Top 50 list at all? (good) That they're half way down the list? (just sort of median) That they're not at the top? (bad) What other restaurants are on the list? (we're supposed to know about them)

                  MakingSense makes the most sense. Everybody wants to be a critic, and you get more attention by posting a "minority" opinion. Your posts about The Inn seem to tend toward the positive, but I can't figure out if that's based on personal visits, or a summary of information that you've gathered.

                  It's amazing how passionately against Five Guys some people here are, and it's just a five dollar hamburger lunch place.