100 Very Best Restaurants: #11 – The Inn at Little Washington

Beet fettucini with Osetra caviar at The Inn at Little Washington. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Fun fact: The staff at Patrick O’Connell’s pastoral dreamscape of a restaurant outnumbers the residents of the tiny town it resides in. Pulling off a standing-ovation-worthy production night after night, after all, is no small undertaking. This is a place of unabashed luxury—fresh flowers everywhere, a wine list that feels like an Encyclopedia Britannica volume, and three tasting menus to choose from. It’s also a place of puckish playfulness. O’Connell’s “star-kissed” tuna is served in a tin with foie gras. He spins the idea of Caesar salad into an appetizer of lamb carpaccio, Parmesan-enriched ice cream, and loads of garlic. Don’t skip a visit from cheese master Cameron Smith, who speaks almost entirely in puns (but can also give you the inside scoop on which grocery-store cheeses to seek out). Very expensive.