The Ashby Inn
Modern American / $$$$$ / 692 Federal St., Paris
It’s not often that it feels like a treat to drive somewhere in the congested veins of continuously pulsing traffic. But at some point on I-66, cars clear away. Off the exit, on the way to Paris, there’s just green. Green hills. Green grass. Green. And maybe a llama. Or is that an alpaca?
In the past few years Ashby Inn’s kitchen hasn’t managed to hold on to talent for very long, and earlier this summer it happened again: David Dunlap departed for Richmond with Patrick Robinson, from Table in D.C., taking over in Fauquier. In visits so early in his tenure he hadn’t put his spin on the menu yet, a duck confit is crisp skin disguising a layer of fat next to the tender meat over pickled turnips in a mustardy broth. It was a sign that while this food is good, it’ll be fun to see what Robinson can do. The flourless chocolate cake, almost brownie-like in fudginess, paired with deep-fried banana slices is standard fare, but that smoked chocolate ice cream … here’s looking to the tricks ahead. << Back to 50 Best Restaurants