From the moment I entered Dijon, a French bistro located in downtown Ithaca, I was greeted by the gracious hostess and warmly welcomed to the restaurant. Immediately, I was struck by the intimate atmosphere and classic French décor of the interior. Softly lit, Dijon transports the diners as close to the real Parisian experience as possible.
Although a bit on the pricey side, Dijon’s ambiance makes it the perfect destination for a more formal dinner date or occasion. Despite not being very well known or frequented by most Cornell students, Dijon boasts the work of some of its own. The Executive Chef Mark Papera and his wife Courtnay are Cornell School graduates and the owners of Dijon.
For appetizers, we had frites, or French fries, with aioli, a French sauce made with lemon, garlic and olive oil mixed to a consistency resembling mayonnaise. Perfectly seasoned and freshly made, the fries were delicious. For seafood lovers, another tantalizing choice for an appetizer would be the mussels steamed in white wine with garlic and parsley.
For our main course, my dinner companion enjoyed the roast pork chop with braised cabbage, bacon, apples, and dried cherries jus, while I tried the crispy skin salmon with white bean and chorizo sausage ragout with grain mustard sauce. The pork was perfectly cooked and slightly sweet. My salmon dish was tangy due to the mustard sauce, and although the salmon was satisfying, the ragout was far too rich and overwhelming for such a large helping.
Hoping to cleanse my palate with something light and fruity, I turned to the lemon tarte with berry couli, which had an appealing lemony sourness. Overall, Dijon is an undiscovered gem of a restaurant that is perfect for luxuriating over a long meal and enjoying the superior atmosphere, service and generally excellent French cuisine.