Dinner Plans: The Orchard House

July 11, 2012 | by —John Vilanova | Homepage

Tucked into Orchard Street on the Lower East Side is The Orchard House, an almost post-industrial space with giant doors that sit wide open. Décor gives a nod to the neighborhood with graffiti-style touches, but the woody space is decidedly warm and cozy. Colorful panels line the walls in a juxtaposition that extends to the menu—light, bright takes on rustic American cuisine.

Owners Teddy Kambouris and Kevin Jackasal have created flexible menus, which include brunch, lunch and dinner, with a nice balance of entrées and small plates to share amongst friends. Simple dishes like a red and yellow beet salad are spruced up with peppery arugula, candied walnuts, goat cheese mousse, and tarragon oil.

The braised short ribs with sweet guava barbecue sauce are perfectly tender. However, the bed of creamy Parmesan polenta that sits beneath the ribs shines even brighter. Ricotta gnocchi with wild mushrooms and Brussels sprouts are bathed in an oregano cream sauce with black truffle oil that infuses the dish with an elegant earthiness. 

Main courses, too, are a mix of revised takes on American classics and new dishes that feel organic to the restaurant’s culinary point of view. The grilled hanger steak with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and shrimp chimichurri sundried rocoto pepper sauce is a saucy surf and turf, while the quinoa-crusted salmon with quinoa and vegetable chaufa (Peruvian fried rice) is a plate of food that feels downright agrarian.

Kambouris and Jackasal have been expanding their offerings almost constantly since the space opened last fall. Brunch and lunch have prix fixe menus in addition to standard à la carte fare; happy hour specials on cocktails like the sweet Orchard Fizz are available during the week; and a late-night menu and delivery options are in the works. In such a welcome marriage of city and country, what’s old is new and what’s new is, well, delicious. 146 Orchard St., 212-777-8600

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