Tucked away near the "original" section of Ashburn is a fantastic little French restaurant called Paris Prestige.
It is on the end of a little strip mall, just down the road from Ashburn's original general store. From the outside the sign says "Grand Opening" even though it has been open for 3 years. It is bright and inviting on the inside, with large prints of the Eiffel Tower, and polished stainless steel and mirror interior walls. In fact, you can watch your chef prepare your food in a mostly open kitchen (most restaurants hide their kitchens from the public).
While we were ordering, small cheese toasts arrived. Those little slices were tender and delicate in flavor, not overwhelming in garlic like other French restaurants. It was perfect with a glass of wine. The French Pinot Noir was $7.25 per glass; most glasses were between $7 and $9.
The appetizer of French pate (chicken and pork) was served with a freshly baked baguette and real butter. Alongside the generous slice of pate was a fresh greens salad dressed with a very light vinaigrette, and two sliced cornichons (French gherkins). The pate was homemade and was everything you would expect in classic French cuisine, subtle in texture with shooting stars of flavor. At this point, I could not wait for the next course!
I highly recommend the Duck a L'Orange ($20.50), which is two crispy duck quarters arranged over a bed of vegetables (carrot medallions, tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and onions). The orange sauce was sensational; it was not overly sweet and gloppy. There was a lot of fresh orange zest in the sauce, which was delicate and highly refined. This chef knows her French cuisine, as this was a perfect classic French orange sauce. Mixed with the vegetables, I requested a spoon so I could enjoy spoonfuls of the sauce by itself. With the fresh bread, it made a great dipping sauce at the end.
Equally delicious is the Veal Stew, or the Tarte aux Fruits de Mer, which was a mixture of fresh mushrooms, salmon, scallops, shrimp and carrots in a creamy white wine sauce on top of a delicate crust, topped with cheese (Gruyere I suspect). The seafood tart was smooth, rich and made you stop and savor each mouthful—I want this dish every time it snows outside. The velvety seafood tart was served with a house salad, again a simple mound of fresh crisp greens with light-as-air vinaigrette.
Portions of food are generous, and the owner's daughter is the only server in the house the evening we visited, and she did a good job of pacing our dinner, and frequently refilled out water glasses.
The traditional Croque Monsieur is rich and delicious for lunch, as was their Salad Nicoise (another French classic).
Our server told us that her mother (the chef) graduated from Cordon Bleu in Paris, and worked in French restaurants for 25 years. After that her parents (her dad was an engineer) opened this restaurant in Ashburn.
Her dad is the pastry chef now, and has learned his craft well, as the Gateau d' House with sliced kiwis, peaches and fresh strawberries was simply fabulous. (I would drive all the way to Ashburn just to order this dessert!) It is a small round hat of delicate cake, split into three layers, with the bottom layer a wonderful jam, then the other layers and outside are covered in a marvelous fresh whipped cream, topped with the sliced fresh fruit. It is light and the perfect ending to a meal. Also wonderful was their Crème Brulee. My boss said it was the best she had ever tasted!
Yes, this has the feel of a bistro with an open kitchen, and there are plastic place mats and a menu that has new items pasted over the top of discontinued items. But don't let anything on the exterior dissuade you from trying this brilliant little diamond of a restaurant. Xinh and Quang Tran may be Asian in their appearance, but they have a pure French heart beating lively on the inside.