As we were looking for something a little different to eat and drink in New York City one evening, we decided to try a place called Wassail. Located on Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Wassail describes itself as a “vegetable focused restaurant and cider bar.” It’s a cozy and comfortable restaurant, but it fills up quickly. If you plan to eat dinner at Wassail, I recommend making reservations. We sat at the bar, as we just wanted a snack and a bit to drink. We found the bartenders knowledgeable and the food delicious.
Wassail offers a variety of ciders on draft and in bottles, and the selection changes regularly. They feature a number of ciders made in New York State (and elsewhere in the United States), as well as European ciders. For those visitors who don’t enjoy cider, Wassail also offers a selection of beer and wine. As I’m less familiar with cider, I decided to order a flight so that I could sample of few different options. Wassail offers an American flight and a European flight. I tried the American flight, which on the night we visited included 3-ounce samples of Hudson Valley Farmhouse “Scrumpy” (2015), Orchard Hill “Red Label” (2014), and Oyster River “Hoboken Station” (2014). The 3 ciders were very different from each other, but all were delicious. The Hudson Valley was a young, fruit-forward cider, and very drinkable. The Orchard Hill was light and refreshing. And the Oyster River reminded me of a dry white wine, almost buttery with a finish that reminded me of a good chardonnay.
The food menu was also intriguing – very different from other restaurants we’ve been to, with its vegetable focus. We tried the Stewed Roman Beans, with cellared vegetables, leeks, and smoked olive oil. It was rich and satisfying.
We also tried the Roasted Turnips, with parsnips, pickled radish, and miso butter. It was another great choice, and the plating was beautiful.
We enjoyed our visit so much, we have already been back a second time. Wassail is definitely one of our new favorites. (I’m not a huge fan of vegetables, and I’ve even enjoyed the food!)
Want to visit Wassail yourself? It’s located at 162 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. Take the F train to either Second Avenue or Delancey Street, or the J, M, or Z trains to the Essex Street Station.