This restaurant is closed!
162 Orchard Street (Stanton St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 219-1061
Chef: John LaFemina
2nd Cuisine: Comfort Food
Area: Lower East Side
Peering through wooden slats that mask the front window, The Orchard has given itself a aire of mystery. Everyone who walks by is tempted to look in. What they'll find is a beautiful new restaurant. You instantly know that a lot of love and hard work went into this place. John LaFemina, the chef/owner of Apizz and a partner in Peasant, built everything from scratch, from the front door to the bar to the tables and chairs, and even the light fixtures. The staff joked that he would have hand-blown the glasses behind the bar if he could have. All of the hard work has paid off and Orchard is now open to the public.
We stopped by opening night to check the place out. The first thing you notice is the wall of wine bottles surrounding the bar. Ironically, there is no wine to drink. The restaurant is still waiting for its liquor license, which could take a few more weeks. So for now, you may want to bring your own or pick some up at a liquor store around the corner.
The main dining area is warm and cozy with rich brown walls and curtains that accent the light wood of all these hand-made tables. Candles and light jazz music add to the mood.
The kitchen is still getting its bearings, which made for a longer-than-expected wait, but we were pleasantly surprised by what emerged.
Appetizers include a series of flat breads coated with steak tartare or short ribs. We tried a version smothered with chanterelle mushrooms, creamy risotto and mushroom puree ($10). It was delicious and one serving is enough for two people. Or better yet, you may want to share two versions. There are lots of other homey items on the menu like a chestnut cream soup and sweet potato agnolotti. I went for the sliced ribeye steak ($29). It arrived perfectly cooked with a side of port balsamic onion marmalade and mashed potatoes. My only regret was that the portion wasn't larger.
All in all, Orchard is worth picking for a night out on the town.
Review By: Sam Sayegh; November 30, 2005