By Jackie Yin
Both bold and bright combination of color stripes on the wall, the interior of Orchard House best represents the style of the restaurant – imaginative dishes that send you on a ride of rich gastronomic waves. Situated on the historic Orchard Street in the Lower East Side, The Orchard House brings continuous surprise to the community with its fresh brand of modern American plates, original cocktail creations as well as a vast selection of wine and tea.
With the sound of smooth jazz, I started my dinner with the Sage Lady. With a slight earthy hint of the sage leaf floating on top of the orange liquid, this gentle blend of Absolute Mango, refreshing orange-flavored Combier and lime juice immediately cheered me up with its light and warm taste. But the best was yet to come!
Based on a belief that dishes are made to be shared and for fun, The Orchard House crafted its menu between small and large plates. Always a fan of fried pickles, I decided to try out what tricks they can do to this simple starter. I have to say I was absolutely impressed. Guess what was served with the pickles? Whipped sheep’s milk ricotta, sweet onion and drizzled dill! Take a bite and experience that magical moment when the sourness of the pickles, followed by the sweetness of the onion, is smoothed out by the subtle taste of the doughy ricotta, ending on a slight minty note of the dill.
Their griddled lamb sliders are just phenomenal. The lamb is prepared to its tenderest and juiciest. The piquant tastes of scallion mayo triggered the succulent flavors of the meat while the minted cucumber added a naughty twist to the experience.
Completely satisfied with my previous two dishes, I headed for a seafood delight – Crab Cakes. Glittered with a thin layer of basil oil balsamic glaze, the crab patty sat on top of a generous amount of aioli sauce in the center of a decorated long plate. The cake had a vibrant taste with its abundant crabmeat, brash enough but also not lacking sophistication thanks to the lemon garlic aioli.
For a large plate, I picked the roast striped bass. When the aroma of port wine met with the mouth-watery brininess of the finely roasted fish, I knew that a dish couldn’t be more perfect. The sauté crispy vegetables were absolutely a bonus. Another large plate that I would like to recommend is Ricotta Gnocchi that comes with wild mushrooms, brussels sprout leaves and oregano cream. The warm gnocchi enjoyed a supple texture with ricotta filling. The slight hint of bitterness in the Brussels sprout played well with the saltiness of the mushroom in the aromatic oregano cream.
Although I couldn’t try everything, I knew that The Orchard House would become a favorite of mine. Its edgy interior design and varied menu with something for everyone will surely make this modern American restaurant a vibrant spot in the neighborhood.