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Aug 26, 2007 04:19 AM

The Inn at Little Washington, yes it is still all that and even more

In recent years, I have seen mixed reviews on The Inn. Dh and I went there 8 years ago for my birthday and decided to go back this year and it was even more wonderful than we remembered.

We get to the Inn and are immediately greeted by staff who are prepared for us and park the car and take in the luggage while we are given the tour, which started with passion fruit and champagne cocktails.

We get to our suite which was even better than I imagined. Fresh flowers in every room, a HUGE bathroom with a deep soaking tub with a view of the mountains, two separate vanities and a doubled-headed shower. It was just lovely.

We walked through town and go into some shops and then have afternoon tea (lemongrass for me, green for Dh) with baby country ham biscuits with marscapone and pepper jelly, lemon tarts, maple shortbread, oatmeal currant cookies and smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches. Perfect to tie us over until dinner.

We arrive for dinner and our menus have printed at the top "Happy Birthday to Janet". After studying the menu, I decided to step out of my box and order away from my usual fare and Dh went the comfort food route.

For our first courses I got the Carpaccio of Herb Crusted Baby Lamb with Tabouli and Rosemary Mustard. Dh got the Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham and Shaved Black Summer Truffle.

Second courses were Seared Diver's Scallop with Olive Tapenade in Gazpacho for me and Roasted Eggplant Raviolis in a Tomato Basil Butter Sauce with Medallions of Maine Lobster for Bob.

With the first two courses we had a German white wine chosen by Tyler (the Sommelier). The wine list is over 100 wines ranging in price from $40-$9000/bottle, so it's a bit overwhelming. Tyler did a great job of choosing things we enjoyed, never had before and were worth our price point.

For our main courses, Dh had Beef Two Ways: Pecan Crusted Short Rib, Paired with a Minature Filet Mignon wrapped in Swiss Chard. I had the Veal Parmesan Reincarnated: Proscuitto Wrapped, Pan Roasted Loin of Veal with Spinach Raviolini and Parmesan Broth. We had a bottle of French Red with these courses.

For dessert, Dh had the Seven Deadly Sins...a sampling of seven of their most popular desserts and I had a cheese plate that was just incredible. We shared off each others for this course. We also were given a tiny gift basket of chocolates, shortbread and candied orange rind to take with us.

Went back to the room and there was port and cookies waiting for us. We slept well and then next morning had breakfast...Yogurt, granola and berries, homemade croissants and pastries, and lobster omelets.

Then we headed back home to reality.

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  1. Wow, it sounds like you had a great time. We have a place about an hour from here called Antrim 1844 which is suppose to be like The Inn at Little Washington on a lower budget. I'm headed there for dinner next month for their 6 course tasting menu. Some day in the future we're going to try TIALW when we can stay over to fully enjoy the place.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Whitemarshjohn

      Thanks for the review Janet! My fiance and I are going there for our honeymoon in October and we can't wait!! Your review made us swoon.

      1. re: Whitemarshjohn

        My wife and I went to Antrim 1844 for our 10th anniversary and had a glorious time. Their wine list is actually a wine book -- something like 1300 selections. I'd highly recommend it.

        1. re: jazzness

          That looks interesting. I just emailed them to see if they have any autumn specials. They have some great ones for through August 31, unfortunately, that include a night, dinner, appetizers, breakfast, and more. It looks great! You recommend the food?

          1. re: katecm

            We've only been to Antrim 1844 once, but it was great. The food and wine were delicious. Atmosphere is really nice, too.

            1. re: debit

              Antrim 1844 is lovely. I wouldn't put the food in quite the same class as the food at the Inn at Little Washington, but that still leaves a lot of room for wonderful food. And you can afford to actually stay there, which you can't really say with a straight face about TIALW. Antrim also has a nice happy hour before dinner, and you really get the feeling that you're a guest at a private party.

              1. re: profjmm

                Prof JMM has got it right. Antrim's food isa step below IALW, but it has a better atmosphere. There are also things to do in the vicinity--eg, Antietam, Harper's ferry, and Gettysburg. If you do go to IALW, dont stay at the amazingly over-priced Inn. There are nice B&Bs in the area.

                1. re: tartuffe

                  I respectfully disagree. I don't believe the Inn is "amazingly overpriced" for what you get.

                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                    I stayed once at the Inn. It was pleasant enough, but my room was small, for a price more than a Ritz_carlton. It is a nice country inn and, therefore, in the wilds of Virginia, greatly over-priced. The food is very expensive, but I have always felt that I got my money's worth

            2. re: katecm

              The food is excellent, and the service is superb.

              1. re: katecm

                I agree with everyone's assessment of Antrim. My partner and I went in June, while we were visiting Gettysburg. I had heard many great things, but had wanted to experience it for myself. It was truly remarkable! While some of the other diners were what I would describe as stuffy, crusty, and very snooty, the staff, especially the manager, was unbelievably accomodating, helpful, and quite simply superb. The meal lived up to its expectations, too. And I agree that the wine list is more like a book, but don't let that discourage you from selecting a very appropriate bottle. Like I said, they're very helpful and willing to work with you to make sure you have an amazing experience. It certainly was that and much more!

            3. re: Whitemarshjohn

              We have been both to the Inn ad Little Washington and to the Antrim, but our favorite is L'Auberge Provencale. In fact we are returning tonight. Check out the menu which we have been dreaming about, and the breakfast will be one of the best you ever have had.


              1. re: AGH

                I love L'Auberge Provencale. The service is impeccable (one night, it was raining, a young boy appeared out of nowhere next to our car with an umbrella and disappeared. We came in, were greeted and the umbrella whisked away) and the surroundings very romantic. Everything we had was delicious, even the sorbet palate cleanser. I rate it as one of my favorite restaurants, well over L'Auberge Chez Francois. I have not had breakfast there but am looking forward to spending the night there and having it. Enjoy tonight!

                L'Auberge Provencale
                White Post, VA, USA, White Post, VA

                1. re: chowser

                  Thanks for the tip about L'Auberge Provencale, AGH and chowser. We will be checking it out in November. I am really looking forward to it.

                  AGH, did you report back on your trip there in another thread?

            4. Would it be to rude to inquire the costs for the entire evening including the stay. I would be very interested to do this. thanks.

              7 Replies
              1. re: cocoagirl

                We stayed in a suite at the Norman House and had Friday night dinner with about $400 worth of wine and the stay was about $1800 I think.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  Wow. I'm glad you think you got your money's worth and had a good experience. That's what I spend on a week's vacation.

                  1. re: brendastarlet

                    For me and Dh, one night at The Inn is worth more than several nights or a week anywhere else. I see people spend $$$ for a week at the beach, etc. and I just don't get the appeal.

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      I agree 100% Janet from Richmond! My husband and I are going for 2 nights in Oct (midweek!) for our 30th ann. I was excited already, but after reading your review, I can't wait. We are staying in a suite in the Norman House as well.

                2. re: cocoagirl

                  Thanks cocoagirl. Also can you let us know which night of the week you stayed over? IALW is notorious for their sliding price scale! :-)

                  1. re: cocoagirl

                    Staying over the weekend or in May, June, October is higher than midweek at other times. Our anniversary in in October and staying on the weekend then almost doubles the price of the room. You can check out all the rates here:


                    Inn At Little Washington
                    309 Middle St, Washington, VA 22747

                    1. re: chowser

                      TIALW's prices for guest room accommodations is out of this world expensive. We thought about doing that several years ago and got turned off by the prices. We first hit the place for dinner almost 10 years ago and really enjoyed it. Have not been back since due to the mixed reviews, but it might be worth a trip there to check it out again.

                      The Antrim is very nice, but not in the same league as TIALW IMO. Still, their winelist is extensive and it is more conveniently located (closer) to the central Maryland area...


                  2. I'm really looking forward to Antrim 1844 later this month. I have justified having to spend in the neighborhood of $200 and the 1 hour drive. I do not doubt for 1 minute that TIALW is an outstanding place. Someday when I have the money and the time for the drive I'll check out TIALW. It's a legendary place and some people believe that the Chef - Patric O'Connell is one of the greatest Chef's in the world. Another of the "super restaurants" on my dream list is Michael Richard Citronelle. That one is a little closer to being within reach.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                      I hope that when you make it to Citronelle that your experience is better than ours. We were quite disappointed.

                      1. re: Hal Laurent

                        Wow Hal - I'm very sorry to hear that. Citronelle is one of those places that you would expect to be nearly perfect. I think I'd be furious if my experience were dissapointing after spending top dollar and all the raves you hear about them.

                        1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                          Got to say, but I too was very disappointed with Citronelle. So much so that I don't think I would return. Nothing major, and nothing in particular that stood out - possibly that was the problem. We only went around 6 months ago and I honestly can't remember what I ate there. I can, however, tell you exactly what I ate the last time I went to the Inn or Maostros. I think that says it all. Part of the problem, for me anyway, was the lighting. I don't want to pay that much money for a meal and not be able to see it. Why on earth is it so dark in there?

                          1. re: SpareRib

                            Try as they might, it doesn't help that the restaurant is in the hotel's basement. Michel, it's time for you and Latham to part ways.

                          2. re: Whitemarshjohn

                            You don't have to save up your money, make a reservation, or even get dressed up to go to Citronelle. Just stop by some evening and go to the Lounge. For about $30 you can try the soft shell crab and the eggplant gazpacho. If you think it's worth it, you can always 'graduate' to the formal dining room. But some of the menu items are available in the Lounge, and I think it's a great place to take advantage of superb food without having to spend a fortune.

                            1. re: Steve

                              One of my guilty little secrets - I eat in the Lounge at Citronelle almost everytime I am working alone in DC - they have a really good, and reasonably priced menu.

                      2. How far in advance do you need to make reservations for the Inn? My father is going to be in town next month for his 70th birthday and I'm thinking of taking him there to celebrate.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: 4X4

                          unless you are looking for Saturday or Sunday a few weeks is fine. I called a week ago and they had openings for mid October.

                        2. Re: Antrim 1844, We had our 10th anniversary dinner there on August 31 and despite the fact that the inn was fully booked for a wedding and reception, the regular dining service was tremendous and the meals were cooked by the head chef. I loved the personalized menus, congratulating me and my husband, which we brought home with us and and everyone in our party said their meal was excellent.