When it’s time to celebrate a special occasion, most of the better restaurants in the area are only too happy to offer up a Tasting Menu. Designed by the chef and choreographed from start to finish, these multi-course culinary adventures have become de rigeur for celebratory dining. And because they show off the skills of the chef and the best of what’s in the kitchen, they tend to be meals to remember.
Unfortunately, those meals come with the kind of price tag that makes them impossible for most of us to do with any regularity. Sure, you can order off the a la carte menu and save some cash, but there are some real deals out there that allow even the most dedicated of bargain hunters to enjoy the cuisine at a few of the highest-rated restaurants in the area. You just need to know where to look.
The Inn at Little Washington – Boxed Lunches
Yes, that Inn at Little Washington. For more than thirty years, Chef Patrick O’Connell’s cuisine has drawn guests to “little” Washington more than an hour away from the District. The setting and the service don’t hurt, of course, but this is still the Holy Grail for many DC foodies. The cost of dinner at the Inn begins at $148 per person (Sunday through Thursday) and tops out at $178 on Saturday nights. Add in the cost of wine and a room at the Inn so you don’t have to drive back after your two-to-three hour meal concludes, and you’re looking at a significant investment.
This past weekend, while on a road trip through northern Virginia that turned up an impressive winery (Gray Ghost) and a charming downtown worth further exploration (Culpeper), we discovered the Inn at Little Washington’s great big secret: they offer an $18 boxed lunch that’s packed with enough food for two people!
What you get for the money – and a pair of additional money-saving dining options – after the jump. (more…)