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Found 14 results

  1. A'ight kids, put yer reading caps on Friday was our 7th wedding anniversary. That means its been 7 years since some generous friends took us to a meal at the Inn at Little Washington as a wedding present. Our gustatory urges had been slowly awakening over the previous year, driven in part by our release from the penury of graduate school into gainful employment, and we had wined and dined ourselves at Obelisk, Cashions and DC Coast to name but a few. Fine restaurants all. But "The Inn" was the big kahuna. Remember that in DC in 1998, there was no Maestro, no Laboratorio, no CityZen, no Eve, a reminder of how spoiled we are for fine dining options now (I think Citronelle was there but for some inexplicable reason we have yet to dine there). The passage of time, the loss of brain cells and a couple of years of sleep deprivation have taken their toll, and memories of the meal are hazy, but we remember literally being *blown away* by the whole experience. The setting, the service, and most importantly the food were all superlative - we had never experienced anything like it - I remember a sublime molten Valrhona chocolate cake before it had become a tired cliche. Two years later we returned, flush with the proceeds of a Harry Potter arbitrage scheme on eBay, and left wondering whether The Inn had changed or had we changed. Were our expectations too high after our first visit? Had we become more discerning as diners? Or was The Inn standing in place, content to serve a menu eerily similar to two years beforehand to those willing (and there were still many of them) to make the two hour trek from metropolitan DC, or even further afield? Some of the dishes were very good, but lacked the wow factor of our previous visit, and the service seemed a little detached and rote. As we left, the prevailing sense was that for $120+ per person BEFORE wine, tax or tip was it just wasn't good enough. Based on the comments on several other food sites it seemed as if we were not alone in this opinion. Time passed and we concentrated our fine dining adventures closer to DC, enjoying spectacular meals at Maestro, Laboratorio, and Eve, or overseas (Arzak, McNean Bistro). Last Christmas, my sister, remembering our raves from our first visit generously gave us a gift certificate for The Inn. While grateful for the gift, we honestly were not that jazzed about going back to The Inn and sat on the gift cert for a while (and in the "We do it because we can" category, shame on The Inn for voiding gift certs after ONE year). We finally decided to go in late-September and turn it into an anniversary celebration both for us, and my parents who would be visiting. My mother has a garlic allergy which can make dining out a difficult process so I mentioned it as I made reservations, and was assured it would not be a problem. Then the day of the meal, our babysitting fell through and I called The Inn to find out if it would be ok to add a 4-year old to our reservation. Again, they said it was not a problem (to be honest I was surprised at this, as an ultra high-end restauranteur, adding a 4 year old into a dining room full of boomers spending $200+ per person seems to have lots of downside). We arrived just in time for our 6.30 reservation and were shown to a circular table overlooking the courtyard (the same table as our first time there, maybe a coincidence, maybe not). Our amuse bouche arrived quickly, with about 8 for the non-garlic allergites (is that a word?) on one place and 3 or 4 on a separate plate for my mother which I thought was a nice touch. The amuse bouche included a mini-BLT (still on the menu after all these years) a red wine risotto filled ball, parmesan crisps, a rabbit turnover, a mini-ham sandwich and one or two others which I have forgotten. In general the amuse were good but not earth shattering. In ordering for the rest of our meal, our waiter took scrupulous care in accommodating the garlic allergy, to the extend of tweaking the making and presentation of dishes to ensure there would be no garlic but that my mother could still order just about whatever she wanted. I was very impressed. After the amuse came a complimentary cup of chilled watermelon soup with a hint of tequila. The soup was excellent - creamy, yet light, tasting of summer, and with the tequila giving its just the slightest kick. They even brought a cup of the soup (minus the tequila!) for our daughter, which she loved. For the first course proper, me and my mother had Prawns and Charred Onions with Mango Mint Salsa, while my wife and dad had Maryland Crabcakes Sandwiched between Fried Green Tomatoes with Silver Queen Corn Salsa. In general both dishes were excellent, but I think the prawns shaded it. Three large, succulent prawns paired nicely with the sweetness of the charred onion and the salsa. In another nice touch, they brought our daughter some macaroni (penne pasta to be precise) and cheese between our first and second courses so we could concentrate on feeding her and still be able to eat ourselves. This was seriously tasty and I'm guessing they used several different cheeses in its preparation. For the second course, I had A Marriage of Hot and Cold Foie Gras with Homemad Quince Preserves, my mom had a Morel Dusted Diver Scallop on a Cauliflower Puree, my wife had A Fricassee of Maine Lobster with Potato Gnocchi and Curried Walnuts, and my dad had A Warm Salad of Stone Church Farms Seared Duck Breast with Baby Arugula, Pine Nuts and Parmesan. In general, I adore foie gras and ordered this dish mainly for the seared foie with aged balsamic and it did not disappoint, but was pleasantly surprised at the "Cold" part of the dish, which was a delicious pate served with a small piece of toasted bread. For our main course, myself and my dad Medallions of Rabbit Loin Wrapped in House Cured Pancetta Surrounding a Lilliputian (!!) Rabbit Rib Roast Resting on a Pillow of Pea Puree, my mom had Prime Angus Tenderloin of Beef on Silver Queen Corn Saute with Wilted Baby Spinach, and my wife had Sesame-Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Silver Queen Corn Succotash. I don't think I'd really eaten rabbit before and it was excellent. The pancetta added a good deal of flavor and it was surprisingly tender. The sea bass was also good, and the corn succotash was very flavorful. For dessert I had cheese, my wife had a trio of chocolate desserts (Black Forest Mousee Bombe, Chocolate Creme Brulee, and Bitter Chocolate Souffle), my father had the "Seven Deadly Sins", and my mother had a trio of peach desserts (Peach Melba, Peach-Champagne Sorbet and Peach Cobbler). In general I thought the desserts were good but not outstanding, although I think I was more in the mood for savory than sweet that night. Our daughter had a scoop of mint ice cream (that was as good as 2 Amy's and that's saying something) with chocolate ribbons. At The Inn, the cheese is served from the back of "Faira", a wheeled cow that must be (somewhat arkwardly) manouevered around the dining room - its cute, kind-of, but let me tell you when you're a 4-year old nearing the end of a 3 hour meal and its an hour after your normal bedtime, it's the coolest thing in the world! I had a nice back and forth with the cheese guy (earning a "you know your cheese" by the end of it all), and ended up picking a Montenbro, a crumbly blue from the Asturias region of Spain, a wonderfully ripe Tallegio, an even more wonderfully ripe Epoisses, a pungent cheese from Switzerland whose name escapes me and an award-winning American cheese that, much to my chagrin, I had never heard of. Now we were really starting to wind down, and Reinhardt Lynch came by and asked if we wanted the doors opening out onto the courtyard to be opened. Again, a great idea for a rapidly tiring 4-year old, and while we enjoyed coffee, tea and cookies, we took turns peering into the courtyards coy-filled ponds with her - several other tables were enjoying their desserts outside. After dinner, we had a quick tour of the kitchen and observed those willing to pony up the addition $300 ($450 on weekends) for the chef's table, exchanged pleasantries with Chef O'Connell (always easy when you have a cute kid), and made our way into the night air for the drive back to DC. Total bill for 4 people, a nice but inexpensive bottle Pinot, and a "kids meal" plus tax and tip was $775. The regular menu is $128 per person, our wine was $60, and our daughters meal was $28 (note that the tasting menu is $168 and the tasting menu with wine pairings is $243!!). We tipped 20% on the total bill including tax because the service was exemplary. Neil is a true professional, always there when we needed him, sensitive to the particular demands of our table, friendly, and good with our daughter. So, was it worth it? I would have to say yes. Its not the kind of place where you should go all the time, and it may not even be the place where you go for groundbreaking cuisine, but for a special occasion, the combination of ambience, service and food is hard to beat. I think they deserve credit for regaining their focus and maintaining a general level of excellence as they enter their 28th year in business. A final note on our superstar daughter. Yes, she's used to being taken out to restaurants, but she excelled herself this time around. By the end of the night, complete strangers were coming up to talk to her, clearly awed but her ability not to ruin their evenings! A final, FINAL note on the one teeny-tiny sour note for the evening. A young female member of staff loudly chastised my wife for reading one of Patrick O'Connells cookbooks that had apparently been already purchased by someone else but left on a table in the common area directly outside the kitchen. Honey, she wasn't trying to steal it, she didn't know it belonged to someone else, and your tone was not appreciated.
  2. We stay at the Ashby Inn on a regular basis, and were there last weekend. It is far more casual than genteel, although there's a bit of that in horse country. Sitting on the balcony and listening to the cows lowing will quickly convince you that the city is not too close. They recently changed chefs, and have, at least for the moment, shortened the menu because of decreased dinner traffic in this stuttering economy, but the food remains wonderful. I know that they have an eight ounce filet listed, but believe that's the only steak offered. Note, too, that the Inn is quite close to the Sky Meadows State Park, which has very nice hiking trails and beautiful views. One of Paul Mellon's finest contributions to that part of the world.
  3. I just got an invitation from the folks who run Trummers on Main in Clifton to their soft opening this week. I plan to go there for dinner on Friday evening. The actual soft opening starts today with the real opening on Monday 7/13/09. The Web site is here: http://www.trummersonmain.com/ and there's a blog site by the owners here: http://www.stefantru.../blog-text.htm. With a chef from the French Laundry, maybe this will be a nice place. I'll file a full report after I visit the place, unless someone else gets there first. The number for reservations is 703.266.1623. One warning, neither Web site above is up to date. clearly the owners have been spending their time making the restaurant work. Wayne Rash
  4. If I was a guy and wanted to impress a non-foodie hot girl, I would totally take her here. Because it is probably one of the most romantic restaurants in DC. Period. There are wonderful trees within a courtyard that canopy the outdoor eating area. There's a lovely walkway flanked by tables as a bar area. The interior is reminiscent of the lush lounge at the Tabard. But the two food items I sampled were some of the worst things I've had in a loong time. A goat cheese torte came out in a slab like pate, was pink and came out with roasted red pepper sauce. Not a nice little tart shape as we were expecting. And let me say again... PINK! It didn't taste of anything. The chicken liver pate with green peppercorns was extremely kicky, but was a scatological dark brown and not the unctuous deliciousness that I've had at other places. I'd maybe stroll over to enjoy the atmosphere after a dinner at the Tabard, but that's about it.
  5. Cedar Knoll is a little place on the George Washington/Mt Vernon Parkway just a mile or so from Mt. Vernon with a wonderful view of the river. It's famous for being awful regarding everything but the view. The place closed in November to absolutely no fanfare (the Cityzen closure it wasn't!) Anyhow, there was an article in this week's Mt. Vernon Gazette about their plans to reopen in the spring. It's light on details about the new place other than they are remodeling the inside. Hopefully they'll upgrade the food because this place is a goldmine waiting to happen. "Cedar Knoll Inn To Reopen In Mount Vernon" by Jerry FIll on mountvernongazette.com A couple excerpts: However, according to Gant Redmon, attorney /advisor for the owners, it will reopen sometime this spring after a new restaurant lease is signed and renovations are completed. ~~~ According to Redmon the owners are not allowed to enlarge the building, add rooms or add "wings." Also, the second floor can only be used for office space, and not to serve food to guests. Redmon said the community may not be aware that historically at one time it was used as a "Tea Room" which, at the time, presented a dilemma for the county planners. ~~~ "Our current plan is that once a new restaurant operator is selected and renovation plans are agreed to, we will work closely with county officials to turn this into a beautiful facility that will serve quality food for individual diners as well as continue to offer it as a facility to host weddings, community, and business meetings,......
  6. My wife wanted us to take her out for brunch in the country for her birthday so I made reservations at the Comus Inn for Sunday brunch. The Inn is at Sugarloaf Mountain in Montgomery County MD. (Dickerson, MD, about 10 miles south of Frederick MD) Brunch was excellent. The Inn, the original part which was built in 1860, has undergone a major renovation recently. The views are nice, overlooking the rolling hills of the western part of the county. The buffet brunch on Sunday features a pancake station and an egg station. They will make any type of eggs you want and bring them to your table so you don't have to wait as they make them. I had some excellent Eggs Benedict, the eggs poached to my specifications. My wife and son had the Eggs Comus, poached eggs on home cured bacon over a slice of brioche with hollendaise. The pancakes were so light they almost floated off the plate and they would make them with whatever you wanted (the boy had blueberry and chocolate chips) They also had a carving station with roast beef and roast pork. The bacon and sausages were also very good, not overcooked and very flavorful. Very nice cheese blinzes, a wonderful rockfish in a lobster/champagne sauce, tiny muffins (chocolate and blueberry) that were so light they melted in your mouth. The usual biscuts with sausage gravy, roasted potatos, nicely done and crisp veggies, a house smoked ivory salmon that was to die for, and a dessert table that was out of this world. Service was superb. Plates were wisked away as soon as they were done with, and when you left to get another plate of food, you returned to a newly folded napkin and fresh silverware. Coffee cups were always kept full, water glasses never empty. As I said before, if you ordered eggs or pancakes at the buffet, they were brought to your table as soon as they were done. The damage was $28 per person, with drinks extra (coffee and tea came with the brunch) We all left so stuffed it almost hurt, but thought it was an excellent brunch. The Comus Inn has an excellent wine list which they were glad to let me look at. Running to 24 pages or so, with almost 600 selections, they have a cellar of about 4800 bottles. Of course this is Montgomery County so the prices were high (after all the county is the wholesaler and marks everything up 35%) Well balanced, there were some bottles there that I hadn't seen on other wine lists in the county, such as a 94 Ridge MonteBello, several years of Harlans, a 97 Grange, several years of Latour, Haut Brion, etc. All in all an impressive list, especially for this county. At dinner they offer four and five course dinners. The menu looked very interesting and reasonably priced for a fancy dinner. (I think it was $89 for the five course dinner.) I might have to try it soon.
  7. Ok, it's closer to Gettysburg than Dupont, but I was out there last weekend for a wedding. Wandered into the main building where rooms go for some $200/night to stay in the middle of nowhere. But they had a really nice looking pub, with this smell of fireplace smoke that contributed as much to the atmosphere as the dark wood and the hazy sunshine coming into the windows. I opened up the wine list and it was like an encyclopedia. Amazing what they had on that list, particularly that they seemed to have ten different vintages of the same wines. Whisky? An amazing collection/selection of Scottish Water of Life. I snagged their dinner menu for that night, prepared by Michael Gettier, Executive Chef. Two Melon Soup with Mint Cream - A light chilled summer soup of canteloupe and honeydew melon with mint whipped cream. (This was served at the wedding reception and was not a highlight. It was served in a martini glass with the orange canteloupe soup on one side and the green honeydew on the other. I think they had to include some off-tasting thickeners to keep the two sides apart.) Terrine de Lotte, Sauce Tomate - Delicate terrine of monkfish, served chilled with a fresh herb tomato coulis Tarte of Escargot and Wild Mushroom - Pastry tarte of tender escargots combined with wild mushroom and cognac cream Roquefort Beignet with Apple Puree - Crispy beignet of Roquefort cheese, served on a bed of chunky apple puree Wild and Gathered Greens Salad Intermezzo Filet Mignon with Bacon and Walnut - Black Angus filet of beef wrapped with bacon, served with walnut sauce and Madeira demiglace Roast Rockfish with Clams and Leek - Fillet of wild rockfish in a sauce with little neck clams and leek, served with bacon and tomato gnocchi Madeira Glazied Veal with Lobster - Veal tenderloin medallion with half a lobster tail served with roasted corn. Served with Vin Blanc sauce Pan Roasted Lamb Roulade - Lamb loin chops rolled with asparagus and ham, seared and roasted, served with morel demiglace Aside from that soup, I can't really judge the food that the inn would serve. It's unfair to compare the delivery of 80 wedding entrees in a separate building to what the main kitchen can do. But the atmosphere inside that inn was neat. If anything, a place to mainline some whisky in a very comfortable setting. Has anyone else been to/heard of this place?
  8. This summer Tom Sietsema reviewed this place and tore it to shreds. Since then they've replaced the old chef with a much younger and more innovative one. His name is Tarver King and he comes from The Woodlands resort and Inn, in Summerville, SC. Looks like he's doing some interesting stuff. The place raises it's own cows, chickens, and the majority of the produce... (including sorrel and elderflowers that grow wild on the property!) there is a blog of the food and property started... www.goodstoneblog.blogspot.com His stuff looks pretty modern but completely local... check it out for an interesting read! their regular website.. www.goodstone.com the place is gorgeous and only about an hour outside of the city!
  9. I know this is fairly last minute, but I am headed to Old Angler's Inn and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations? Is that HUGE "house" next to it Dan Snyder's new abode?
  10. What are your thoughts on Monocacy Crossing these days? I rather enjoyed it the first year or so it was open, but haven't been in a long time.
  11. We had an amusing experience at lunch today. We both ordered the Chicken Salad. The menu indicates that it comes with curried chicken, a salad, and tea bread (all on the same plate). My wife is allergic to nuts, and we should have asked if the tea bread had any. Our chicken salads arrived, and, yes, the tea bread was loaded with nuts. My wife told our very charming server of her allergy, and her salad was whisked away, presumably for some nutless bread or some additional salad as a substitute. After waiting several minutes our server brought the "new" salad to our table. There was no bread, but the dimensions of the plate were smaller. The kitchen had scooped the chicken salad and the green salad onto a smaller plate. Why didn't it simply remove the tea bread and return the original plate? Would not have taken more than 15 seconds. I'm sure there were legitimate reasons, but no explanation was offered. We chuckled about this through our lunch. Middleburg in January is quiet and peaceful. No bikers roaring up and down Washington. No leaves to obscure the panorama.
  12. I met up with my Mom this weekend and we went to the Severn Inn for lunch so we could sit outside and listen to the waves crash into the shore underneath us. We had chardonnay and an umbrella to keep us shady and a nice breeze. Mom got a crab salad that was really good, crab salad served with sliced avocados, hard boiled egg and lettuce either for making cups, wraps or cutting up to be more of a salad. I got a chance to try it and the crab was nice and fresh and the flavors were very refreshing. I had a chicken sandwich on foccacio with mozarella, roasted tomatoes and peppers with pesto that was fantastic, the chicken was crisp and juicy and the whole sandwich was full of flavor and juice that got nicely soaked up by the bread. I was not expecting the lunch here to be near as good as it was, I was really impressed.
  13. I have to say (full disclosure) I am biased... My wife and I own and operate the Public House in Flint Hill. But I can highly recommend our neighbors (and pals) Four and Twenty Blackbirds. People call us competitors, but we are great neighbors. It's cool to have great neighbors... We should probably start another post as this really doesn't have anything to do with the Inn. Who, I have to say, are great neighbors as well. We get quite a bit of business from them with their overnight guests that are staying multiple nights.
  14. Old South Mountain Inn is special to me because my mom loved to come up here for Sunday Brunch. Right on the Appalachian Trail, it is an extremely charming, old inn that was originally founded in 1732 (and has gone through numerous permutations in its lifetime). The first time I dined here was in the 1980s, in a little alleyway upstairs called "Lovers' Lane." Since then, they've installed a somewhat controversial, glass-enclosed sunroom that is wildly popular for Sunday brunch-goers, but destroys the view from Lovers' Lane. It is a night-and-day difference between the original dining room and this sunroom, and you'd be doing well to peak at both before committing to a table. I haven't eaten here in many years, and I don't remember the food at all, at least not at dinner. It is a very old-school menu, with entrees such as Crab Imperial and Beef Wellington. Sunday Brunch is a steam-table affair, and it gets crowded when church lets out with people loading up on dry scrambled eggs and the like. If you're up for a hike at Washington Monument State Park (which contains a leisurely stroll uphill to our nation's first Washington Monument, granting enchanting views of the surrounding counties), then you could sure do a lot worse than finishing your park adventure with a Hot Buttered Rum (only about $6.75) in the bar area. This is worth the 75-minute mini-trip up to Boonsboro and back, and it's a beautiful drive if you take the early exit and go through Middletown. What a lovely way to start the New Year this was. Cheers, Rocks
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