Another one of our annual traditions is to go to the Inn at Little Washington after Christmas and spend the night. While Jim and I usually do it with just the two of us, this year, we took the kids. (I know—I want to come back in my next life as one of our kids, too.)
The Inn was kind enough to sit us at the kitchen table, which made the entire experience even more memorable. Unlike many kitchens, especially in New York, the kitchen at the Inn is quiet and serene, at least on the surface. The stress and tension are definitely there, as it is in every high-end restaurant kitchen, but yelling and profanities are not acceptable behavior.
We started off with a family favorite—truffle popcorn. As much as I love every dish at the Inn, there are times when I think that the truffle popcorn is all I need to keep me happy. It truly elevates popcorn so that you’ll never be happy with the movie theatre version again.
Next up, was the amuse-bouche. We were treated to the chip-and-dip served on an (inedible) stone.
In addition, there was a bite of pork belly served with a hoisin sauce.
And, finally, there was a brioche with a quail egg and quince jam. Everything was quite delectable.
Next up was an oxtail consommé with a miniature grilled cheese sandwich studded with black truffles. The oxtail consommé used to be part of a regular dish on the menu, and it was one of my favorite dishes on the menu. This taste brought back a lot of lovely food memories. Virtually any savory dish can be improved upon with the addition of black truffles, and the grilled cheese sandwich was no exception. Heavenly.
Another Inn favorite that is no longer on the menu is the fire and ice—seared tuna served on a bed of cabbage “noodles” topped with cucumber sorbet. We took advantage of its availability that night.
Our son had the carpaccio of lamb loin with caesar salad ice cream. It’s a favorite of his.
The mousse of foie gras with sauternes gelee and red plum preserve is another family favorite and is often ordered when we are at the Inn.
Another past menu item that made a brief return was the roasted pheasant with cabbage
Jim took advantage of white truffle season and ordered the spaetzle “risotto” with a poached farm egg and white truffles.
Our daughter had the pan roasted lobster with tomato butter, spinach, and garlic custard (among other things):
The pan-seared diver scallop with artichoke puree, capers, and tomato tartare was excellent,
And the Inn always does a fabulous job with its version of roasted duck topped with foie gras and served with pickled cranberries (which were amazing!):
Here is the delicious pork jowl with braised red cabbage and walnut ravioli:
The most amazing dish they served us in an evening of amazing dishes was a black truffle, which they had roasted in the ashes of the fireplace in the kitchen. It had been wrapped in foil and was warm and sat in its own lovely truffle juice. It was then sliced and served over a simply dressed salad with the juices poured over it. Those truffles were one of the most wonderful things I have ever put in my mouth.
Desserts included the painter’s palette of sorbets,
the chocolate mint fantasy,
a chocolate hazelnut mousse tart,
and a honeycrisp apple tart.
While the food is definitely delicious and artistic and memorable, the service is even more exceptional. The staff always looks happy to see us (they are excellent actors all!), and we are treated like valued guests. We already are looking forward to our next trip there!