Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dinner at The Inn at Little Washington

The day I have been dreaming about finally arrived. My husband and I had dinner at The Inn at Little Washington to celebrate our 5th anniversary. I have followed Chef Patrick O'Connell's amazing creations for a long time. I have both cookbooks he published, I read about his story -- which is remarkable because he broke the first restaurant rule: location. He opened a small restaurant in a village in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain in 1978 - 70 miles from Washington, DC. It's no wonder the restaurant grew and turned into one of the "Top 10 Best Restaurants in the World" rated by The International Herald Tribune. Patrick O'Connel, an entirely self taught chef, is a gifted artist. His recipes appeal to your eyes and taste buds. Everything is virtually perfect. The restaurant is pure luxury and romance, creating an an enchanting setting. The restaurant opens only for dinner and has a fixed price for a four course dinner. Words cannot describe the perfection of each course and the decadent desserts.

It is most definitely a place for special occasions, where at the fixed price of $168 per person not including beverages, tax, and gratuity, a couple can easily spend $500 for dinner. I can say, in my case, our experience was priceless.

My First Course: Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham and Shaved Black Summer Truffle
My second course: Pecan-Crusted Soft Shell Crab Tempura with Italian Mustard Fruit

My Main Course: Pan Roasted Maine Lobster with Baby Spinach, Grapefruit and Citrus Butter Sauce
And For Dessert: Seven Deadly Sins

One of the most delicious things I tasted in my entire life was my husband's second course:
"Fire and Ice: Seared Tuna Sashimi with Daikon Radish and Cucumber Sorbet".

Here are some of our choices:

First Course Selections

A Quartet of Island Creek Oyster Slurpees
Prawns on Charred Onions with Mango Mint Salsa
Poached Pullet Egg in Oxtail Consommé with Morels and Asparagus
Fire and Ice: Seared Tuna Sashimi with Daikon Radish and Cucumber Sorbet
Carpaccio of Herb Crusted Baby Lamb with Tabouli and Rosemary Mustard
Our Chilled Seafood Sampler: Lobster Maki, Tuna Tartare and Ceviche of New Zealand Sea Bream
Our Morel Mushroom Pizza with Fontina Cheese and Virginia Country Ham

Second Course Selections

Fennel Sorbet with Cucumber and Celery “Martini”
Pecan-Crusted Soft Shell Crab Tempura with Italian Mustard Fruit
Minced Squab with Virginia Peanuts and Local Shiitake Mushrooms in Hoisin Sauce with Baby Romaine Lettuce Leaves
A Marriage of Hot and Cold Foie Gras with Homemade Quince Preserves
Morel-Dusted Diver’s Scallop and Signal Crawfish on Carmellini Beans Dressed with Old Solera Vinegar
Roasted Eggplant Raviolis in a Tomato Basil Butter Sauce with Medallions of Maine Lobster

Main Course Selections

Pan Roasted Maine Lobster with Baby Spinach, Grapefruit and Citrus Butter Sauce
Pistachio-Crusted Colorado Lamb Loin on Potato Rösti with Carrot Ginger Essence
Beef Two Ways: Pecan Crusted Barbeque Short Rib, Paired with a Miniature Filet Mignon Wrapped in Swiss Chard
Veal Parmesan Reincarnated: Prosciutto Wrapped, Pan Roasted Loin of Veal with Spinach Raviolini and Parmesan Broth
Pepper Crusted Tuna Pretending to be a Filet Mignon Capped with Seared Duck Foie Gras on Charred Onions with a Burgundy Butter Sauce
Medallions of Rabbit Loin Wrapped in House Cured Pancetta Surrounding a Lilliputian Rabbit Rib Roast Resting on a Pillow of English Pea Purée
Sesame Crusted Atlantic Halibut with Baby Shrimp and Artichokes
Our Steak and Kidney “Pie” with Veal Kidneys, Tenderloin of Beef, and Button Mushrooms

Dessert Selections

White Chocolate Ice Cream with Hot Dark Chocolate Sauce
A Painter’s Palette of Seasonal Sorbets
A Ménage à Trois of Rhubarb
Fromage Blanc and Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Sauce
A Chocolate Mint Fantasy: Our Mint Ice Cream Festooned with Chocolate Streamers
Our Southern Butter Pecan Ice Cream Sandwich with Hot Caramel Sauce
A Trio of Chocolate Desserts: Black Forest Mousse Bombe, Chocolate Crème Brûlée and Bitter Chocolate Soufflé
Seven Deadly Sins: A Sampling of Seven of Our Most Decadent Desserts
Pineapple “Ravioli” in Kaleidoscopic Flavors
A Checkerboard Terrine of Pistachio and White Chocolate Ice Cream with Blackberry Sauce


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