I am overdue to share my thoughts on The Orchard, where my husband and I dined recently with our friends, John and Amy. I found the meal average, but I was outnumbered by my dining companions, who were extremely pleased. The food lacked the technical precision of many of the restaurants on The List, and I would put The Orchard in the “good neighborhood restaurant” category (but not in the “worth a trip to the LES” category). My husband, John, and Amy would probably disagree so take my review with a grain of salt (advice you should heed whenever reading my reviews, which are one person’s opinion, after all). One highlight of the meal was the service – our waitress was competent, efficient and patient. We lingered at her table for almost three hours and she could not have been more accommodating.
We started with two orders of flatbread (mushroom and short ribs) and an order of tuna tartare. I’d heard the flatbreads were delicious, but I thought they were just ok. The tuna tartare, however, was the best dish of the meal. Sadly, my picture of the tartare did not turn out, but I can promise that you will not be disappointed with this appetizer – in fact, order two!
For our main courses, we had filet mignon wraps (me; I should note this was an appetizer, which may account for my lack of enthusiasm), lamb (John), halibut (Amy), pasta (my husband). It’s been a few weeks so my memory of the dinner is rather fuzzy (or perhaps it was the cocktail + half bottle of wine). I know that everyone was delighted, except moi, and I didn’t dislike my meal, but I didn’t love it. John loved his lamb and, although I prefer my lamb alive, the lamb was pretty darn delicious. Amy liked her meal, too – I am always a little scared of poached fish (it never sounds right), but the halibut was flavorful and well prepared. And my husband enjoyed his funky pasta (with avocado?!).
Dessert was pedestrian. The flourless chocolate cake was good, but no different than any other flourless chocolate cake. I did not like the tartufo – the chocolate was too sweet (I like my chocolate dark). As seems to be the case with every meal, I took pictures faithfully of every course but dessert (wine consumption is surely a factor) so you will have to imagine these sweets. Tuna tartare aside, I wouldn’t rush out to The Orchard, but if you are in the neighborhood, stop in and treat yourself to a perfectly enjoyable meal.