The iconic New York deli has provided endless inspiration for cool-kid eateries over the past few years; spawning Jew-ish destinations like Harry & Ida’s, Mile End and Sadelle’s; just to name a few. Yet the just-launched Orchard Grocer might be the most modern of them all, as — instead of celebrating schmaltz, whitefish and gribenes with nostalgic, pseudo-ironic abandon — it’s entirely meat, gluten and dairy-free.
Which means instead of appetizing shop tropes like fridges of smoked fish, tins of caviar, jars of rugelach and boxes of matzoh, shelves are stocked with vegan must-haves, like nut cheeses, coconut milk yogurt, no-gelatin marshmallows and faux “porterhouse” steak.
And then there’s the sandwich menu, which will forever alter the long-held definition of “bagel and a schmear.” Dubbed “The Edith,” a wheatless round is lined with standard issue capers and chives, as well as housemade cashew cream cheese and the coup de grâce— carrot lox — briny veggie ribbons that mimic the vibrant color (if not the precise taste and texture) of fatty, supple salmon. Even the assertively meaty reuben has been reimagined for the veg set via “The Marlow;” beet-brined Blackbird seitan, Bubbie’s sauerkraut, kitchen-concocted Thousand Island dressing, and a fermented tofu-seasoned Chao cheese slice, on an approximation of marble rye.
Of all the new Jew establishments to take over the city of late, the “cruelty-free” Orchard Grocer is definitely the new Jewy-ist.
78 Orchard St.