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Inn at Little Washington - Concern

  • t
  • true Jun 30, 2009 02:39 PM

They still have 5 mobil and 5 Triple AAA ratings. They are still a Relais & Chateaux property.
This SHOULD make the restaurant great. And it should make the Inn itself and its guestrooms great.

But in the last year - say since Jan 2008 - I seem to be reading more and more comments on tripadvisor, etc. that say The Inn at Little Washington is overpriced, no longer deserves the accolades, the food just isn't the equal of that at Citronelle or City Zen or even Fortis, etc. , and now they are coasting mainly on past hype.

It's also been said that -- except for the dining room -- the property is in need of renovations in the bedrooms and bathrooms themselves.

We wanted to stay there for the weekend - and have dinner both nights.

We don't mind paying the price - IF it is worth it, not just for the food, BUT if the accommodations themselves are truly luxurious and meticulously maintained.

Please help with this. I know it isn't totally food related - yet, we would prefer not to make the drive if it is just a good meal but we end up being disappointed with The Inn itself.
Sometimes a place can be great initially - and end up being run-down and in need of new carpets, new curtains, new bathrooms, etc, yet you don't find out until you get there.

It'll be a honeymoon and we really want everything to be special. Or we will pick another place to honeymoon, like Blackberry Farm in Knoxsville, TN. or The Point in NY -

Please help ! Chowhound readers are usually sophisticated, high-end travelers.

If you have actually stayed at Inn at Little Washington (as well as had dinner) since Jan 2008 or later - and are willing to provide detailed feedback on your actual stay there (which room, etc - and what you liked and did not ) , I'd hugely appreciate it :)

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  1. true — here is a link to my post on a trip two weeks ago. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/631291

    we did NOT stay the night at the inn; however, i think that is pretty characteristic of most diners. there are numerous B&Bs in that area that according to other chatters on this board are romantic and fantastic in their own right — perhaps it would be worth it to stay in one of those and visit the inn for dinner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: littlew1ng

      littlw1ng : Thank you for replying.
      It sounds like the food at the Inn was quite good. Too bad that your server was cold and not as helpful after she realized you were not ordering more. That is not nice and should not be acceptable at those prices. She should have been better trained.
      I appreciated your suggestion as to perhaps staying elsewhere and just dining at the Inn. I will look into it.
      True

    2. I have been to the Inn several times since 1990. Our most recent visits were in April of 2006 and 2007. I have to say that on those two most recent visits, the food did not wow me the way it had previously. Now, that could be because my culinary experiences have vastly increased since my earlier visits and thus, it takes a lot more to impress me. And, it’s not to say that the food wasn’t excellent, just not over the top incredible, as the prices would suggest. However, I have to say that my experiences at Komi and CityZen in the last year were better than my last two meals at the Inn.

      In all those visits, I have only stayed overnight at the Inn one time; that was in April 2007 and only because we had been given an extremely generous gift certificate that allowed us to stay overnight and have dinner as well. We stayed in the Mayor’s House which is in its own building across the street from the Inn itself. I can say that we found it to be impeccable, absolutely no complaints, and we have stayed in high-end hotels all over the world. And it should have been, considering that it cost at the time $1000 per night! I have no experience with any of the other rooms at the Inn.

      Some advice: when you book your dinner reservation at the Inn, be sure to specify that you want an individual table and do not want to be seated on a banquette. Our last dinner there we were on a banquette and I felt like I was rubbing elbows with the woman at the next table. My husband and I felt we needed to whisper in order to keep our conversation private. It was not comfortable, and at those prices, that’s not acceptable. Also, make sure you get a tour of the kitchen – they frequently offer it, but sometimes forget.

      Finally, if staying at the Inn is too pricey, there is a wonderful alternative in town called the Foster Harris House. A room there costs about a third of what a room at the Inn costs. We have stayed there several times and it has always been wonderful, both the accommodations and the breakfast. In fact, we both agreed that the breakfast at the Foster Harris House was actually better than the breakfast we had at the Inn the one time we stayed there in 2007. Not that the Inn’s breakfast was bad, not at all! Just that the FHH breakfast was truly exceptional and more personal. Oh, and they had a great young dog, a yellow Lab, who will let you play with her in the backyard, if you’re so inclined.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lauman

        Lauman,
        Thank you for replying.
        Your information about requesting an individual table rather than a banquette is quite useful. I've read quite a few comments from people unhappy with the seating that is so close together so that is a big help. A restaurant that charges the sort of prices that have been mentioned should not cram their tables so close together.
        That desire to put is as many tables as possible to help their revenues without thinking of diner comfort instead says something about them and their thinking.
        Glad to know that The Mayor's House was kept in impeccable shape, as it should be at that price! High prices don't always guarantee things are kept in tip-top shape, so this was good news.
        Thank you as well for suggesting Foster Harris house as an alternate. If the accomodations are wonderful there at a third the price and with better breakfasts, it certainly makes sense to possibly stay there instead. Will look into it, especially with both you and littlw1ing making a similar suggestion.
        True.

      2. fyi, foster harris house: http://www.fosterharris.com/room.php

        2 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          Thank you, alkapal :)

          1. re: alkapal

            I concur on Foster Harris. It was great and added to our entire experience.
            It is just a short walk from the Inn.
            (For context, I have never stayed at the Inn so can't comment on it relatively speaking).

          2. True,
            Id have to say if you can stay there one night you might want to, I thought the breakfasts there were wonderful! The best bacon and oatmeal souffle I've ever had. I do think it's true that the Inn could use some more up to date renovations. Where ever you stay have a great time and might i suggest you have a menu signed by the Chef as honeymoon memory. If you go to photoeats dot com you can see some of the dishes we ate there.

            3 Replies
            1. re: nemis

              I agree about the breakfast - The best part of staying at the Inn (other than the lack of a drive home!)

              My last time there was I think Late 2007 - A bit earlier than the OP's cutoff. The food wasn't *Quite* as good as the first time I went there, 15 years ago - But it was still excellent - It could have been just the choices off the menu.

              We loved staying at the Inn - It was nice to take a stroll through town (walk slow and don't blink!) and the Staff seemed to dote over us even more since we were staying there (I believe the Men were given white carnations or such for our lapels, which signified that we were overnight guests)

              Our room was right at the top of the stairs - No really big deal, but we could hear folks walking by (it's an old structure) - My only real complaint was the size of the room - I don't mind small rooms mostly but I am 6'4" and the furniture overshadowed the room - I was constantly bumping my shin, etc - But then again I am also a Klutz!

              We want to go back and sit at the Chef's Table - And maybe stay somewhere else like the suggestions above.

              1. re: tommyskitchen

                Tommyskitchen,
                Thank you for the detials in your response. It sounds like they have some nice touches to their service.
                For half the price, I'd have no qualms about hearing people walk by at night or having a small room.
                For $700 a night - $1,200 a night, I expect good insulation and solid core doors and plenty of space to stretch out.
                Perhaps just having dinner at the Inn is the best idea.
                You've given me some good pros and cons to think about.

              2. re: nemis

                Thank you, Nemis.
                Good food for breakfast is a great way to start the day ! However, if the rooms need to be renovated - it just isn't worth the price right now.
                Perhaps if they decide to make the changes necessary/spend the money to keep the Inn accomodations up-to-date, then it would be a great place to stay.
                Newly redone bathrooms, carpet, drapes, paint, a/c/, mattresses, duvets, pillows, all of it would then justify a 4 figure nightly bill including tax.
                I know they redid the kitchen a few years ago, so now it may be time to make the investment to redo the rest of the property.

              3. a limerick for true's dilemma:

                true, go and attend washington’s inn
                to get there it’s just a short spin
                the dining is fine
                even more with the wine
                so go there, to not do so’s a sin!

                i envy your chance to eat there
                ‘cause the money it costs is quite dear
                but spend if you must
                create mem’ries or bust
                ‘cause when you are old you won’t care.

                the food had better be savvy
                the service and attire quite natty
                so eat with aplomb
                finish with the bombe
                please do tell us all -- and be chatty!

                2 Replies
                1. re: alkapal

                  Alkapal,
                  That was so clever ! :)
                  Will let you all know how the trip goes afterwards.
                  Life's adventures into luxury !

                  1. re: true

                    true, i never saw your review. where did i miss it?

                2. My wife and I have been there on 4 overnight visits over the past 15 years. Twice we stayed at a nearby B and B, twice at the Inn. The 2 times we stayed nearby our tables were very close to other diners, which made having a private conversation next to impossible. The 2 times we stayed at the Inn our tables were much nicer and we did not have privacy issues. That may have been a coincidence, but my guess is they probably save the nicer tables for the overnight guests. It might be something to consider when everything has to be "perfect".

                  Our last visit was about 3 years ago where we stayed overnight at the Inn. We had the extended tasting menu (I don't know if this is offered any more), and they prepared a separate vegetarian tasting menu for my wife (I was in contact with the Inn a couple of weeks beforehand to make these advance arrangements). We each had our own wine pairings with our dishes. I do remember our room being small (and pricey), but what I remember most about that trip was the wonderful dinner, at a great table, with the "perfect" companion.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RolandParkGuy

                    RolandParkGuy,
                    The whole tables being too close together thing doesn't sit well with me at those prices. To find out that unless you are staying at the Inn, they consider you "less than" sits even worse.
                    Glad you had such an excellent meal there 3 years ago, with such a perfect companion :)

                    1. re: RolandParkGuy

                      My husband and I had exactly the opposite experience. We had been to the Inn for dinner several times and each time, despite the fact that we were not staying at the Inn, we were seated at an individual table. The one time that we actually stayed at the Inn, we were seated on a banquette. So, I really can't agree that your table seating is dependent on whether you're staying there. I think that each diner needs to make their desires known to whomever is taking the reservation.

                    2. I think Tru's concern for the costs of things and how that relates to the experience of either eating or staying at the Inn is not going to meet his expectations- they just can't. No offense but you don't sound like the right person for the Inn.

                      I have eaten there and stayed there. Money does not bother me - no do I worry about meeting standards - however the meal for 4 plus a middle of road bottle of wine and a few drinks was $1100 not including the tip- was not up to my excpectations which were not a exacting as Tru's

                      our service and dinner did not meet that equationa

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: cocoagirl

                        cocoagirl,
                        with all due respect, standards should be met at the 4 figure price range for nightly accomodations.
                        Since we have been the right people for the Hay-Adams in Washington DC, Twin Farms in Vermont and the Cloisters at Sea Island in Georgia, we are the ideal target market (customers) for a place such as the Inn - if they are maintaining their quality as they should.

                        1. re: true

                          p.s. cocoagirl,
                          sorry to hear that your service and dinner at the Inn were not up to your expectations.
                          See, that's the issue of the post.

                          When a place has once had a fabulous reputation, sometimes it continues to earn it, and sometimes it isn't as great as it once was.
                          For example, the Kahala in Honolul Hawaii just went through a total renovation, as did the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. Now they are gorgeous and once again desreving of their accolades and stellar reputations. .
                          However, if you stayed there 3 years ago, you would have been sorely disappointed, and still paying top dollar. Now they are wotht the top dollars again.

                          I'm just trying to ascertain from visitors to the Inn at Little Washington since 2008 whether everything is immaculate and well-maintained, or has gotten a bit shabby and might be in need of a redo.
                          Since the prices are the same either way for staying there, that information is good to know.

                          Hope everyone has an excellent foodie 4th of July weekend!

                          1. re: true

                            As a restaurant owner, there is another issue that seems to be overlooked here in this discussion. I have never been to the Inn so my comments are not specific to the restaurant in question, but a general observation.

                            Restaurants with passionalte owners have an experience they are trying to deliver. Customers coming into a restaurant have expectations that they and they alone set. Sometimes these expectations are way apart from the experience that the restaurant is trying to deliver.

                            From what I know of Chef O'Connel and the Inn, part of their experience is related to a whimsical touch that does not fit with the formality of some other very highly rated restaurants {i.e. the mooing cow cart for the cheese and the over the top decor.

                            But from what I am reading of your concerns, true, and that is all I have to go by, these formality issues seem to be paramount. A restaurant cannot change the space it has and economics, historically arrived at, drive the number of tables etc. Based on this, I think that there is a big disconnect possible. If that is upsetting, maybe you should be looking at somewhere else. Because if you go to the Inn and it does not deliver, an important ocasion for you will be ruined. If you go somewhee else where you seem to be more certain that their delivery will meet your expectations, and the Inn would ahve actually be trancendant, then you are just missing out on something that you didn't experience. All of us have a far a larger universe of restaurants we ahve not experienced than of the ones we have.

                            All I know is that a some of folk I know and whose food palates I respect love the Inn and say its worth every penny and some say it is a waste. But that is true of Komi, Eve, CItyZen, Citronelle & Mini Bar etc. in DC as well as Momofuku KO, Per Se, the FL, etc elsewhere. No one restaurant is a perfect fit for everyone!

                            1. re: deangold

                              Dean, I hope that The Inn delivers the excellence that it is capable of for everyone who visits it now. There isn't a lot of margin for error these days.

                              1. re: Joe H

                                Deangold: You brought up some good points. Perspective and experience are everything!
                                Perhaps this discussion of the Inn comes from having had the bar set so high at so many superb restaurants, and using them as a basis for comparison.
                                (As far as economics driving space though, I beg to differ. Other Relais & Chateaux restaurants such as Daniel in NYC have tables 3' apart. It's really the mindset of the owners, who consider customer comfort and part of the overall ambiance/experience as much as they consider their own bottom line.)
                                We are looking forward to possibly dining at both the Inn and the nearby Eve's and Foti's on the other evenings.
                                We have gotten off topic of the original question though. Which was if you have stayed at the Inn in the last 18 months, what was your experience with the accomodations ?

                                1. re: Joe H

                                  Joe H: Hope that you had a good 4th of July.
                                  Yes, exactly. That is what brought up the original question. Thank you.
                                  Again, for new readers, if you have stayed at the Inn within the last 18 months, what was your experience with the accomodations?

                        2. A general question/comment. If it is true that the place has gone downhill (not uncommon in any case, since owners who are only human become tired and lose the creative spark over time), could a specific event be at the root of it? I of course refer to the split between O'Connell and Lynch. I know nothing about the dynamic between the two and how it wove into creating and running the place, but since O'Connell is now alone, perhaps it is just too much for him? If Lynch was more in charge of the accommodation part, this could surely be a factor in the decline, if there has been one, in the hotel part as distinguished from the restaurant which is certainly O'Connell's domain. But again, I don't know. Does anyone have any "inside" info?

                          I ate there courtesy of the Washington Post after I won that little contest involving signature dishes, but that was in 2000, so I certainly can't comment about current quality.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: johnb

                            John, I've had four trips to The Inn starting in 1980 and the last in 2003 which resulted in a long post on here. Every single one of them was a disappointment. I can talk about our last trip when we were seated in "Siberia" and I had to push my seat forward to allow the cow cheese cart to move past, another trip where "Seven Deadly Sins" came straight from an "icebox" where it had sat for the weekend before our weekday visit, sophomoric service from a new server and, most importantly, food that just didn't "wow" me. After four trips and four disappointing anniversary/birthday celebratory disappointments we gave up.

                            Our anniversary is this week. In past years we've gone to The Inn, Komi, Maestro, the Lab, Citronelle, L. A., the French Laundry, Chicago and flown overseas a few times. One of our best "dinners" was at the In-n-Out Burger just off the Vegas strip. Another year eppouisses and two bottles of wine-each-on a boat in Marina Del Rey. (OK, two for me and a half bottle for Carol!) This year we're going to Table 21 at Volt in Frederick. My expectation is that this will exceed anything that The Inn could serve us-at more than twice the price. I also expect this, at a minimum, to be the equal of anything available in the Middle Atlantic states right now, whether Komi, Goldoni's Chef's Table, CityZen or Citronelle's Chef's Table. I just don't view The Inn in the same way that I once hoped it would be.

                            For myself after four strike outs and two thousand dollars or so it doesn't matter if it is has improved in the last year.

                            1. re: Joe H

                              Joe: Four strike-outs at The Inn becomes a wholly unacceptable trend, especially given those various different reasons.
                              Hope you have a wonderful anniversary this week, and enjoy the food wherever you choose to dine - please let us know afterwards how it was!

                              1. re: Joe H

                                can't wait to read your volt review!

                                1. re: littlew1ng

                                  Thanks, true and littlew1ng.

                              2. re: johnb

                                John: good point, and maybe that could be a reason. It'd be nice to find out!

                                Saw pictures of the food (with accompanying recipes) in this month's Verandah magazine, and it looked very appetizing/beautiful presentation..

                              3. True- I was a chef and a caterer for 20 years. We have been dining there for 12 years, and it seems to me , the Inn at Little Washington is getting even better. We ate another "best meal of our entire lives" just last night in celebration of my husband's birthday. Chef O'Connell is still creating witty, fresh, imaginative menus and has always used local fresh best seasonal ingredients, unlike many restaurants which act as if that is something new! His flavour profiles are so perfectly balanced, his elements so gorgeous and richly textured, his plates so delightful that for me every bite is nearly a spiritual experience! The atmosphere there is sensuous and opulent without ever being stuffy or taking itself too seriously. The seating is very posh and comfy...we did not feel cramped at all and we were 4 guests at a banquette table under a fringed silk lamp with fresh tulips on our tables and glittering silver on pristine linen! I love the huge lapkins too...every detail of the dining experience is attended and we leave there feeling indulged, inspired and pampered within an inch of our lives!

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: mejane

                                  My husband and I ate there this past Friday night and the service was so shockingly bad, that I left in tears. I have written an email to the manager and am waiting to hear back from him, but in short, we waited for an eternity for someone to come ask us if we would like a drink while waiting in the dining room. We finally had to ask someone. We waited for our server who was gruff, our sommelier was rude, short, and inattentive to our needs. In fact, we asked for the pairing, but he never had a discussion with us, allowed us to taste the wine tht he didn't allow for a discussion about, suggested I was demanding when my husband informed him I didn't like sweet wines, altered his ungenerous, inconsistent pours so that I wouldn't "complain", told us jokingly "we had no choice" as to the wine we would get, and etc....only one of our courses was properly described to us, the rest were plopped down in front of us by different people. Our server described some turnip presentation in passing, but essentially she was uninterested. The coffee that my husband specifically asked for with dessert arrived late. The server indicated that it was late because she didn't want us to bring us coffee that wasn't fresh. At a five star dining establishment, I don't care how good the food is, if I have to constantly look around trying to get someone's attention, get abrasive service from both the sommelier and the server, that ain't no five star dining experience in my view. The food was great, the presentation of the food was great, but it was ruined by the experience from the moment we walked in the door to the moment of relief when we stepped outside. I get better service at the local diner, and I certainly did at Thornton's Grill the following night. I cannot believe this is a five star dining establishment. Do they care? Have they become complacent? I don't get it. I've been to Latrec at Nemacolin and the contrast in service was extraordinary. I hope I get a response back from the manager, but if I don't I"m sending my email to the Chef. His talents are being disrespected.

                                  I agree with the reviews of Foster Harris house. This is where we stayed, as well. The breakfasts were the best we've ever had. The presentation was pure art, and the company was pleasant and interested. Great place, with food in the morning better than the dinner we had the night before.

                                  1. re: nyawira

                                    Can I ask - do you recall your server's name? We ate there on 05/16 and I found our server quite gruff and disinterested - but every other aspect of the meal was sublime. I'm actually working on my review and will ideally have it up by tomorrow.

                                    1. re: uhockey

                                      I believe her name was Sophie or Sophia, but I cannot be certain. I described her to someone and that's who they thought it was. Sort of frumpy, with an accent, possibly english, short straight black hair. NIce enough, but gruff and certainly not refined.

                                      1. re: nyawira

                                        Talked to the very gracious manager tonight. Feel very satisfied with the conversation and his plans and expect great changes at the Inn.

                                        1. re: nyawira

                                          Good to hear - I put my review up on the board - I hope they made reparations because it really is a great experience restaurant.

                                        2. re: nyawira

                                          Sophie strikes again! Saturday night, my husband and I ate at IaLW. Sophie was so ungracious -- so condescending -- at the beginning of the meal that we were wondered if we had made a big mistake coming to the Inn even though we actually enjoyed the food.

                                          Where we tangled with Sophie was her unwillingness to allow substitutions for any of the tasting courses although she eventually allowed my husband to substitute veal for the tuna because he said he simply wouldn't eat seared tuna. Sophie didn't stop at saying "no." She indulged in a lecture about the chef's progression. She even told us that if we wanted to make a substitution we shouldn't be considering the tasting menu. Give me a break. Saturday night, we wanted one fewer fish course and one more meat course. We weren't asking the chef to insert a meat course where it didn't belong. However, Sophie decided she had had enough dealing with us and walked away abruptly saying we needed more time. Her actual words weren't necessarily inappropriate but the timing of her announcement and the tone of her voice was totally unacceptable

                                          Her writing us off continued into the first course. Our food sat at our places for a considerable number of minutes without the wine arriving to pair with the first course of the tasting menu. Sophie brought this hurridly and zoomed off without a discussion of the type of wine or any explanation about the decision to pair it with the dish. Sophie delivered the wine in a timely way for the next course, but, again, there was no accompanying explanation. For the third course, a different sommelier brought the wine. He was effusive in his description of the wine and was generally charming. We chatted for some time and settled into enjoying our food and wine. The same sommelier continued serving us for several more courses and the mood of the evening brightened considerably. When we next saw Sophie, she seemed several degrees more gracious, but there was yet another running issue that underscored her lack of professionalism. As the meal went on, more than once she came over to our table to ask if we had been served our lamb, when, in fact, that was one of the substitutions we had asked about and she had refused to consider. We told her we were not expecting a lamb course, the first time she asked, yet she asked at least one more time. Bizarre.

                                          My husband and I don't think we'll return to the Inn. As many folks have pointed out, we can get -- and have gotten -- equivalent cooking at lots of other restaurants. The cost of our meal for the tasting menu with wine pairing, tax, and tip was somewhat north of $800. I don't think the food was any better than equivalent meals we've eaten at Marcel's, Komi etc. and we've never spent more than $600 for those meals. Marcel's, in particular, is a model of graciousness in the way the servers announce "Order anything you'd like and our chef will sequence it in the best possible way."

                                          1. re: Indy 67

                                            I completely agree with you, Indy67. I would much rather have dinner at any number of DC restaurants (Komi, Marcels, CityZen, to name a few) than return to the Inn. It will cost less and be a more pleasant experience, both culinarily and socially. I used to love the Inn, but no more.

                                            -----
                                            CityZen Restaurant
                                            1330 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024

                                  2. Hi - My wife and I stayed at the Inn two months ago, it was our third time staying the night and we thoroughly enjoyed it. In no way are the rooms lacking in luxury. We've stayed at 5 star hotels all over the world and we really think the Inn is right up there. We've stayed in the Inn proper as well as the Game Keeper's cottage and thought both are great. As to the dining - we are having our 7th meal there in two weeks and it has been consistently great. Could be that we have been lucky but the servers have always been attentive, the rest of the staff very nice and the food delicious.

                                    1. I have eaten at the Inn five times since 1999. In my view, it is just as good at it has ever been. What has changed Is that the rest of the world has gotten better. Ten years ago, there was no Volt, no Marcel's, no 2941, no Minibar. The competition for best restaurant in the area was Kinkead's. There were no tasting menus. The food world has gotten better, while the Inn has stayed the same.

                                      -----
                                      Kinkead's Restaurant
                                      2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: mnadel

                                        Twenty years ago there was Jean Louis. But I agree with you. I believe that you can now find among the best dining experiences in America in the D. C. area. My problem as I've noted in the past is that at $500+ for two and with four visits dating to 1980 I no longer have an interest in giving the Inn a chance. My wife's 50th birthday, my 55th, our anniversary and another celebration all were huge disappointments. I remember a James Beard dinner at Maestro several years ago where every chef had won a Beard award. The single best course was from Patrick O'Connell. He is a chef of unlimited imagination and talent. I just haven't been able to consistently find it at his restaurant. Our last visit, where I had to move my chair so "the cow" could move by was too much.

                                        Over the years I've been fortunate to have a number of three Michelin star experiences in Europe. At this level it is about the consistency of excellence with no margin for error. For me the Inn has a large margin.

                                        Your point is well taken, however: the Inn is no longer "exciting." Komi, Volt's table 21, Vidalia 24, MInibar are all exciting. I remember Roberto's "Duck stew," his foie gras creme brulee in his Lab (and the reaction of 29 others to the duck stew), Fabio in his last months at Maestro, Enzo's Chef's Table. You are right: the Inn has stood still while the world around it has changed. Today there are other ways to spend one's money now. There are several with the talent of Jean Louis compete with him.

                                        -----
                                        Komi
                                        1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                                        Vidalia
                                        1990 M St NW # 2, Washington, DC

                                        1. re: Joe H

                                          hi joe, you gotta tell me about this: ""Our last visit, where I had to move my chair so "the cow" could move by was too much."""

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            HI alkapal! This is excerpted from a response of mine on a very long thread a number of years ago:

                                            "There is one alcove on the far side of the main dining room that is long and narrow. It holds six or seven tables all of which are very close together. There is not more than 15 inches between two seater tables which is far too close for this level of dining. This, by the way, is also the restaurant's Siberia. It is where virtually every man who did not have a jacket/suit and tie was shown to. (It was 96 degrees outside and virtually every man in the main room had a tie on.) There was barely enough room to roll the incredible cow shaped cheese cart through. (This was a great feature which actually "mooed" from time to time.) Still, on each of the cart's trips diners had to move their chairs forward to allow it to past behind them. From what I could see this was a production that several of them didn't really appreciate."

                                            On a Saturday with one of the cheaper bottles of wine I don't think a couple can have dinner, "all in," for less than $530 at the Inn ($178 + 178 + 60 + tax + tip). For a $500+ dinner there should not be a seat in any dining area where the chair has to be moved to allow a cheese cart to pass.

                                            1. re: Joe H

                                              ha ha, thanks. i guess it is hard to put a "cheese cow" on a diet. http://www.mommygoggles.com/wp-conten...

                                              i thought the "cow" might be some regular, large-ish patron! ;-).

                                              ~~~~~
                                              ps, i'll bet you know the answer to the question on another thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7111...

                                              1. re: Joe H

                                                I must say I noticed the folks having to move as Faira mooooo-ved through....seemed odd. That said, great cheese course. :-)