Dijon, May 24, 2007
By Alex Miles
Just three weeks ago this stylish restaurant opened its doors to customers hungry for something new. The first impression I had was that the clients thirst for novelty in food and décor would be quenched. This is the latest addition to the modernizing trend on the restaurant scene in Dijon….You say, “Restaurant scene…in Dijon?” You bet. This new arrival confirms the fact that a trend is truly under way.
You immediately feel like you’re in a new place. The entrance is spacious with an active bar serving customers waiting for their dining companions to arrive. The color tones are beige and deep chestnut brown with vertical reproductions of waves which left their imprint on a sandy beach.
We were shown to our table, a high table with high chairs, (almost all of the other tables were of normal height), just next to the sliding glass doors which opened out onto the terrace…the “Côté Terrasse”! Though I understand that these high chairs are somewhat in vogue I felt as if I had regressed back to childhood and that the waitress would put a bib around my neck and pinch my cheek if behaved well.
We had hoped for a place on the terrace but I found out that one has to specify when making the reservation. However, I did notice two tables on the terrace which remained unoccupied throughout our meal…could it have been that we were not sufficiently in with the “In Crowd” to have been placed on the much prized and sunny terrace? I hope not.
The waitresses were scurrying about in their tight fitting, dark brown t-shirts. They were well adapted to the clientele; young and pretty. We eagerly watched the ballade of square and rectangular plates pass by, all decorated with brush strokes of color and food displayed in vertical volume structured with herbs. The atmosphere was resolutely relaxed and the food was fresh, good and at very reasonable prices.
My companion and I both ordered the luncheon menu at 10.90 Euros which included the main dish and dessert. I ordered the special of the day; lamb brochette in a creamy chive and thyme sauce which was leaning on a mound of perfectly cooked quinoa which had plump raisins and delicate spices. My companion had a skirt steak with fries…the steak and crisp fries were just fine though it would have been nice to have freshly made fries rather than the frozen variety. The steak was served with a choice of gorgonzola or a 5 pepper sauce. Both sauces were ordered and both were delicious.
We both had the dessert of the day which was a freshly made apricot tart. The “sablée” crust was excellent and the firm apricots could only have come from Morocco. Though canned, these apricots are of top quality and hand packed in light syrup…nothing like the mushy variety you get at the supermarket. Dabs of raspberry coulis decorated the plate. This dessert was definitely homemade and not an afterthought as in many moderately priced establishments. The coffee which came in ergonomically designed cups with a twisted handle was a little too light for my taste.
The bathrooms were impeccable, decorated like the restaurant in large, square, dark brown, mat tiles. The lights went on automatically when entering and the stainless steel water fixtures resembled the rest of the sleek décor.
Côté Terrasse presents itself as a restaurant, wine bar and wine cellar. We didn’t drink at lunch so I can’t say anything about their wine list…maybe on the next visit for dinner. I look forward to ordering off the à la carte menu and try some of the chef’s specialties.
This is one of the rare Dijon restaurants open 7 days a week which is another welcome treat to the growing number of fine restaurants in town. Côté Terrasse is at 10 place de la République with service till midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Service after 10 PM is also a novelty and much in demand by the people of Dijon on the lookout for a place to go after the theater or the cinema!