Many tasting rooms bill themselves as culinary “journeys,” but the experience is a literal one at chef Patrick O’Connell’s country destination. Do you need to travel outside Big Washington for a great meal? No, but that’s not the point. O’Connell, a master of dining as theater, puts on a transporting show. Guests can pick among three six-course menus or mix and match dishes from the vegetarian, classic, or “here and now” categories. That last lineup isn’t as modern as suggested—an eggshell filled with lush foie gras mousse and Sauternes gelée is pure Old World elegance. Still, modish whims aren’t why you make the pilgrimage; it’s indulgences such as perfect bread service or the chance to beckon “Faira”—the cow-shaped cheese cart—and her pun-loving master before they mooove along. Very expensive.
Also great: “A Tin of Sin” (caviar and crab); lamb carpaccio with Caesar ice cream; chanterelle “meatloaf.”