20 Main St.
Sperryville, VA 22740
American | $$$$
When word came that Three Blacksmiths founders Chef John and Dianne MacPherson decided to sell many wondered will it be as good? Will it be worth the months long wait to get a table? (Right now they are booked through July 2022) After last night’s dinner the answer is a resounding YES.
Even with some staff changes the new owners Chefs Jake and Sara Addeo didn’t miss a beat in delivering the dinning experience regular customers relish. The couple has a long history in the hospitality industry working at fine restaurants in New York, Washington, DC, and Hong Kong. For Three Blacksmiths regulars who know the effort John and Dianne put into creating and running the restaurant, they weren’t about to just sell to anyone with money. I suspected they would find someone who would be a perfect fit back in August when the email came announcing the sale.
The details are comforting.
The evening starting with a wonderful Elderberry Sparkling Water drink and this Blue Cheese Risotto Ball with a quail egg. It doesn’t take much for blue cheese to be over powering but with the risotto it was just the right combination.
Next came Crab with Pickled Beets and a Tangerine Olive Oil Aioli. The pickled beets provided a nice sweet and sour crunch with the crab.
Just about every table offers a view of the kitchen.
The staff is super friendly, can almost read your mind, and know every course if you have questions.
The first course was a Monkfish Ossobuco with Bone Marrow, Smoked Hakurei Purée, Winter Greens, and a Bacon and Seaweed Broth. The monkfish was cooked perfectly and the bacon and seaweed broth was awesome. We asked for spoons to make sure we got it all. The noise level is low to moderate and comes in swells. In between courses it’s at it’s loudest. As the dishes make it to the tables it quiets considerably. At one point so many people were scraping to get every bit of broth it sounded like cicadas had returned.
A tradition started by Chef John, the bread came out in the box with heated rocks along with the excellent compounded butters. A Sea Salt Whipped butter and my favorite, a Lemon and Chive butter.
For the second course we had a Chanterelle Custard with Roasted Parsnips, Lemon Gems, and Truffled Hazelnut Sabayon. The sabayon is a super smooth dessert like custard that was delightful.
The pasta course was a Spaghetti Carbonara topped with Bluefin Toro Bacon, Tellicherry Black Pepper, Cured Duck Egg, and Pecorino Romano Cheese. The Bluefin Toro Bacon is made from the fatty part of the tuna, brined , and cured like bacon. It had a light smoke flavor that tastes nothing like tuna. We opted for the Shaved White Alba Truffles, which come at an additional cost, but are well worth it. The duck egg carbonara was delicious. The dish was a little on the salty side for us but we use no salt other than in cooking so we are more sensitive that most.
The entrée was Hearth Fired La Belle Duck with Charred Butternut Squash, Beluga Lentils, Yuzu Agrodolce, and Kalamata Olives. This is the way duck should always be made. Tender and juicy with a nice bark. The squash purée with the yuzu agrodolce is a great paring. The agrodolce was just the right consistency to drive the complexity of the dish. Cooked to long and you get lentils in a gooey mess. Yuzu is a Japanese fruit which adds to the agrodolce’s sweetness, and everything benefited from the sweetness. Trying to get a little of everything on your fork was a challenge but the only way to eat the dish.
Baba au Rhum – I believe translates to Dessert is Why We Eat. A yeast risen cake with a crispy Huckleberry Sauce, Puffed Amaranth, and Espresso Gelato. An intense warm/cold, sweet/sour dessert is a lovely way to end the dinner.
Relaxing with a French press of rich coffee was pleasant.
With a nice-looking Ginger Cookie to take home and personal goodbyes from Chefs Jake and Sara we were on our way home to make another reservation.
If you had some concerns about new ownership you can put them aside. Nothing in our dinning experience was missed. My wife summed it up saying “I like the Inn at Little Washington a lot, but I think I like this place better. It’s cozy and friendly, and the food is just as good.”