Please allow me this post of unabashed gastronomic gloating. Last week a friend treated me to the culinary treat of the year: dinner at The Inn at Little Washington. This out of the way (read: wayyyy out of the way) restaurant has won countless awards over its 30-year lifespan, including James Beard Foundation Restaurant of the Year and a #1 rating on Travel and Leisure magazine’s Best Restaurant in the World list.
All those awards worked against me, as I felt a little self-conscious whipping out my wayyy outdated phone to take pictures of my ten-course meal. So instead of drool-worthy shots of amazing food, you’ll have to put your thinking caps on and just imagine you were there with me, savoring every bite.
An Awesome Celebration of MollyMarymountKef
Truffle Dusted Popcorn
truffle grated at the table… it took every bit of self-control not to tackle the server, grab the truffle and high-tail it home!
A Shot of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup
Salt-Roasted Shishito Peppers in a Miniature Skillet with Harissa
Served in a one-egg cast-iron pan on a bed of sea salt and star anise, this dish kind of reminded me of edamame. Prior to eating, our server leed me through the process of “seasoning the fingers,” which required opening a satchet of sage, mint and thyme, and rubbing it all over my hands. This way, each bite-sized pepper got some of the herbs’ flavor without interfering with the delicious homemade harissa served to the side for dipping. Talk about tableside presentation.
Heart of Palm Salad with Avocado, Fennel and Coriander-Lime Viniagrette
This was yummy, but the best part was the description given by the server: “Hearts of palm, globes of avocado, spheres of fennel. Oh! And beware the spears of endive! They’ll getcha.”
Beet Trinity: Three Versions of Beets with Montchevre, Beet Sorbet and Orange Essence
Beets Beets Beets Beets Beets! Everybody! Beets!
Cannellini Bean Agnolotti with Burnt Lemon Butter and Marinated Toybox Tomatoes
My dearest Molls had called ahead to let them know that I’m a gluten-free eater, and The Inn did an INCREDIBLE job of taking that into account for me– they even gave me homemade gluten-free bread before the meal, which is a luxury I had forgotten about. That being said, I think they served this very gluten-filled thing to me without thinking, and I was getting kind of full (too much of that bread!) so I shared this one with the table. The tomatoes were great, though.
Blake Pepper Lemon Risotto with Crispy Baby Brussels Sprouts
Oh my, oh my. I’m not really into rice, but I am really not about to pass up risotto in a top restaurant that comes with BRUSSELS SPROUTS. This was definitely a highlight of the night. Yum.
Japanese Eggplant Moussaka with Basil Tempura
Speaking of highlights, this WAS IT. I overcame my urge to point out to the server that all moussaka is, by virtue, made with eggplant and just focused on the beautiful little package in front of me. Instead of the traditional layering of goodness upon goodness and serving a slice casserole-style, these guys used the thinnest slices of eggplant to wrap the layers of cheese and tomato inside the eggplant like a present and then topped it with a giant, very-lightly fried basil leaf. Oh my sweet lord baby Jesus.
Pineapple Lemongrass Sorbet with Pink Peppercorn Granita
Just the perfect palate cleanser. So fresh tasting.
Cheeky Milk Chocolate “Flower” Pot de Creme with Strawberry-Basil Sorbet
This is what the rest of the table ate for dessert- the traditional pot de creme turned on its side to appear as if it had been knocked over so that the chocolate spilled out onto the plate, where a strawberry-basil sorbet made a beautiful “flower.” Below, a hastily-snapped blurry picture.
All in all, a lovely dining experience. I can’t remember the last time a restaurant was so gracious about making gluten-free substitutions–especially such a highly-rated place, where often dishes are too micromanaged to allow for changes and swaps. Many many many thanks to my steadfast, hilarious friend Molly for being born and treating me to one of the most memorable eating experiences in a long, long while!