Janna Yu / Sun Dining Editor

August 30, 2017

Bold, Cozy and Flavorful — Le Commons Bistro

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Le Commons Bistro is a new French-Asian fusion restaurant that opened three months ago, and is located on the Commons at what used to be Jin Wu. On a Saturday afternoon, our party slowly strolled across the Commons, passing many restaurants brimming with guests before stopping at the unassuming facade of this restaurant.

On first sight, the interior is attractive and offers a warm and inviting ambiance. It has a vintage chic feel to it and certainly forms a nice contrast to the neighboring Gorgers Taco Shack. The front lounge is spacious, and the rich decor gives it a cozy feel as well. From the looks of it, the owner clearly wanted it to be a family-friendly place, where people can just sit down and have a good conversation while enjoying the perks of a full-service restaurant.

After munching some shrimp chips with sweet chili sauce — one of my favorite fried snacks growing up — I took a look at the menu. The restaurant features food from all over Southeast Asia, giving life to a small but eclectic menu. They have a rotating menu, meaning you’ll find something different each time you visit. Ithaca is no stranger to Asian fusion or French restaurants, so most guests would know what to expect. Le Commons Bistro definitely checks all the boxes, leaping on the bandwagon of all the hottest trends in 2017, when French cuisine is making a comeback and street food-inspired ethnic foods are hot as ever.

There were no customers when we arrived, and we were the only ones throughout the meal. The waiting staff were professional and polite, and we had the luxury to enjoy an hour of late dinner, with only music and conversation as company. Cushy chairs and soft jazz made us very comfortable. If I were to nitpick a little bit, I would wish the multi-colored LED lights were removed because they were very disorienting.

From our seats, we could hear folk music by street musicians leaking into the restaurant, an interesting reminder that we were on the Commons, a place bustling with activities. Being the only customers, we did get a bit lonely, but the chef was very easygoing and chatted us up about the food.

For starters, we ordered Mousse Truffée. For entree, we ordered Red Curry Chicken with jasmine rice and Longe de Porc Sauté — sautéed pork loin and with mixed greens and fries. The restaurant has no wine offerings (yet), so we ordered soda instead.

As expected, food came out fast.The food was, overall, very flavorful. The greens were crisp and the fries were just to my taste. The pork loins were exquisite, with the right amount of juiciness. I wasn’t too impressed with the red curry dish, not that it wasn’t tasty, but in the sense that I remember having something better in Ithaca.

In terms of fitting the bill, expect to spend around $15-$30 per person (plus 18 percent gratuities), unless you plan to take advantage of their lunch specials ($9.95 + tax). It never hurts to try something new, and the warm and inviting ambiance definitely is a plus. The dynamics of the staff and the kitchen was very pleasing, so if you are a budget-conscious and food-adventurous person who just wants to hang out with family and friends, definitely try this place.

Serves: French, Asian fusion

Vibe: warm, cozy

Price: $$$

Overall: ★★★☆☆