Throughout the last few months as its opening was repeatedly delayed, Orchard Street’s newest hotspot made the news because of the departure of its original chef (Top Chef‘s Camille Becerra, who left for Hotel Chantelle), and because of designer Steve Lewis’ noteworthy decor.
But at last night’s preview of APL, it was all about the drinks.
Mixologist Jeremy Osslund, who drew raves in his previous gig in mid-town, showcased three cocktails off the new menu: the East River, a refreshing mix of mint-infused El Dorado rum, cucumber and lime juice; the Summer Blues, a surprisingly not-too-sweet blend of Absolut vodka, blueberries and lemon juice; and the Orchard Fizz, a sparkling white wine jazzed up with roasted apple bitters, cranberry and lemon juice.
The East River involves a technique Osslund believes he is pioneering in Manhattan: using nitrous oxide to infuse vodka with mint leaves. It’s a show to watch it made, but even more of a pleasure to drink. In the bottom of each glass swims a gummy Swedish fish, locally sourced (of course) at Economy Candy, right around the corner on Rivington Street.
In total, six specialty cocktails grace the menu, all priced at $12, while beers include four taps and a funky variety of cans and bottles that run from $3 to $8.
Owner and veteran nightlife entrepreneur Joey Verdone has developed an eclectic menu that features “share plates” such as wild-nettle barbajuans with nutmeg and parmesan, fried pickles with ricotta and buckwheat blini topped with marinated salmon. The latter was a hit with guests last night, as were the slow-cooked deviled eggs. Small plates start at $6 and entrees run up to $26 (lobster stew), but there are lots of choices in the $14 to $16 range.
APL is located at 146 Orchard St., between Rivington and Stanton. Verdone said he planned to open to the public for drinks this evening, with the full menu coming online next week.