That was fast!
The Michelin Guide only started ranking Washington D.C. restaurants back in 2016, and, after a few years spent hovering in the one and two-star zone, the city can now say it's home to a three-star dining destination. Yes, earlier today the little red guidebook announced that the Inn at Little Washington, helmed by chef Patrick O'Connell, has been awarded a third star, putting it alongside culinary institutions like Per Se and The French Laundry (the three-star distinction is shared by just 14 restaurants in the country).
“That a kid from South Capitol Street, via Clinton, Maryland, who worked in a Mr. H hamburgers...can teach himself to cook and measure his progress every year against the greatest restaurants in the world, realizing that if he kept at it and [was] committed and willing to sacrifice, [he] could make an achievement like this, it’s like being in the midst of a fairy tale,” O’Connell told The Washington Post.
That commitment clearly didn't go unnoticed. “Over the past couple years he’s refined techniques and was really able to bring his sauces up to a new level,” Michelin’s international director Michael Ellis said of the chef in a statement. “It was clear he’d been influenced by some of the great French dining and lodging establishments in the Relais & Chateaux." Timing for the honor couldn't have been better—the opulent restaurant-slash-inn, which bills itself as a "posh country retreat," is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
While the Inn was just put on the fast track to becoming a global destination (for its refined-American menu and for its mascot, Luray the dalmatian), visitors to D.C. shouldn't overlook the area's other Michelin-approved restaurants. Two newcomers received one star this year: chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Siren by RW (a seafood-focused venture with a top notch raw bar and an extensive rum cocktail list) and Ryan Ratino’s Bresca (a self-described "casual fine dining" spot with a rooftop garden). In addition, two restaurants have maintained their two-star status: José Andrés’ minibar and Aaron Silverman’s Pineapple and Pearls.