The Lower East Side has undergone a drastic change the past few years. It was a working class immigrant neighborhood, but it has become seriously gentrified in the past five years. What once was the most affordable neighborhood in the city, has now become one of the trendiest. The Orchard House pays homage to this neighborhood’s history while serving up some really delicious dishes.
I headed to the Orchard house on a hot spring afternoon. I was warmly greeted by the manager and led to a table in the back. The restaurant’s decor screams New York. There are mobiles inspired by shoes thrown by kids onto electrical lines.
There’s a great lucite window with silhouettes of birds that immediately put me on the street shooing away some pigeons. The decor was very seriously thought out. It is young, it is sexy, it is NYC. My dining companion, Addie from Gypsy Addie’s Food Diary arrived and we got down to business.
We started off with Orchard House’s fried pickles. Yes, I know. A girl from Jersey should never be seen in public eating fried pickles (thanks a lot Snooki), but these were simply irresistible. They were thinly sliced bites of briny deliciousness. These were elegantly done, and could possibly bring honor back to this dish.
We had a killer cannellini dip with some grilled pita. I know…it sounds boring and unexciting, but it was not. This was a seriously good dip.
The avocado salad was also delicious. The restaurant adds red grapefruit which brings in a bright acidity to the dish. There are also hearts of palm, and a spiced carrot dressing.
My favorite dish of the evening was the pan seared scallops. They came on the most delicious orzo. The sauce was all about creamy-umami-goodness. The Porcini mushrooms that came with the dish were perfectly cooked, and the scallops had a gorgeous sweetness to them.
The whole time I was there, I was thinking that this would be the perfect place to have brunch or dinner with the girls. The vibe was young, fun, exciting; and most importantly the food and service were solid. The Orchard House gets my vote.
The Orchard House is located at 146 Orchard Street in New York’s Lower East Side. (212) 777-8600
PS – The Orchard House does an $18 Prix Fixe Brunch which comes with cocktails…good reason to give them a try