It’s a bar? It’s a restaurant? It’s Wildair.
And with food and drinks this delicious, it doesn’t matter how Wildair wants to categorize itself.
The very talented Fabian Von Hauske (Jean-Georges, Noma) and Jeremiah Stone (Rino, Isa) have opened this Lower East Side spot just two doors down from their original creation, Contra.
While Wildair may be more informal than the tasting-menu-only Contra, the menu is packed with ambition and creativity.
Go somewhere else if you’re seeking a kale Caesar, but come here if you’re ready to start your meal with breakfast radishes in a swirled palette of seaweed butter ($9), summer squash with ricotta and tart, omega-3 packed purslane ($9) or a head of lettuce showered with sesame and flax seeds and a whipped buttermilk dressing ($8).
The affable staff circulating the communal high-top tables and herringbone patterned oak floor makes it easy to pick a little, drink a little and then order an extra dish of Georgia white shrimp poached in olive oil ($12) and eat some more.
Most of the menu happens to be gluten-free, and vegetables are sourced from the Greenmarket as a matter of course. Van Hauske and Stone also work with farmers to grow ingredients specifically for the restaurant.
For wine buffs (or those who just want a good glass with dinner), this is a place to move to the top of your list. The wine list is packed with natural and biodynamic wines and naturally fermented (without the addition of sugar and yeast) lightly sparkling wines with a low alcohol content called pétillant naturels.
138 Orchard St.