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Cafe Orchid

Cafe Orchid
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  • Cafe Orchid

    Post #1 - November 13th, 2007, 9:18 am
    Post #1 - November 13th, 2007, 9:18 am Post #1 - November 13th, 2007, 9:18 am
    Couldn't find any posts about this Turkish spot on Addison off Lincoln. It may well be a little gem if what I had last night is any indication.
    The Ezme ($3.95)off the cold app section was a nice fresh, spicy melange of peppers, tomatoes, walnuts, garlic and parsley. The lamb Doner Kebob($11.95) was a generous portion of crispy house-made gyros-style lamb over letttuce, tomato and rice-served with yogurt sauce and a spicy red pepper condiment. Strong Turkish tea complimented all the flavors. The menu seems a bit ambitious for the fairly small, somewhat funky space, but I'm geeked to try other items soon. They offer carry-out and delivery.

    Cafe Orchid
    1746 W. Addison
    Chicago, IL 60613
    (773)327-3808
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  • Post #2 - November 13th, 2007, 10:12 am
    Post #2 - November 13th, 2007, 10:12 am Post #2 - November 13th, 2007, 10:12 am
    we have been to cafe orchid four times, dined in once and carried out 3. i believe it is a hidden gem..the last time we went in for carry-out a gentleman at the counter gave us a bite of his kofte kepop (ground lamb and beef, very good) which we were admiring. very charming family type of place. there are always children running around, coloring at the counter ect. presumably the owners chilren or relatives. love the hummus, falafil, chicken shish, and donor kebob. less crazy about the tabuli, too much parsley, and didn't care at all for turkish raviolli. but, this is a place that definitely deserves a try. always a ton of cabbies at lunch.
  • Post #3 - November 14th, 2007, 5:26 pm
    Post #3 - November 14th, 2007, 5:26 pm Post #3 - November 14th, 2007, 5:26 pm
    I went to this place on a whim, and was glad I did. The place was just as you describe it - a Turkish family run restaurant with kids running around, even helping out. I was surprised by the extensiveness of the menu, and would be leery if they could pull off every item on the menu. I went with the Balik Sarma, which is sardines wrapped in grape leaves, simply because I was intrigued. I also had the doner kebob. The food was great, not earth shattering, but way above par for late Sunday take out. Everything had flavor and freshness to it. My one gripe being that my food was possibly a tad overly oiled.... possibly due to my food sitting in its take out containers too long. In any case, I'll be back and look forward to trying more on the menu.

    Cafe Orchid
    1746 W Addison
    Chicago
    773-327-3808
  • Post #4 - April 14th, 2008, 8:46 am
    Post #4 - April 14th, 2008, 8:46 am Post #4 - April 14th, 2008, 8:46 am
    I have recently been to cafe Orchid. The food is really delicious. Myy favorites are doner kebap and manti.

    The meat of doner is really tasty. I am from Turkey, and I can assure you that the tastes in Orchid cafe are really close to its origins.

    I tried different appetizers, and I have not been disappointed with anh of them. I especially like Icli Kofte. I am not sure about English name.

    They also serve Ayran which is a tradiitional Turkish drink with Yogurt. I strongly suggest that. The food is prepared by Turkish people which is the key to their success.

    Stuff is really friendly as a side note.
  • Post #5 - May 4th, 2008, 10:54 pm
    Post #5 - May 4th, 2008, 10:54 pm Post #5 - May 4th, 2008, 10:54 pm
    Ate here tonight with some friends. Absolutely wonderful. The weather was perfect for sitting on the small deck and admiring the scenic intersection of Lincoln and Addison.

    Food was great - reminds me of Turkish places in Brooklyn - bright, crisp salads, tons of garlic and a good hand with the grilled meats.

    We had the usuals - Manti, Patlican Salata (eggplant salad), Ezme (walnut and hot pepper salad), a great vegetarian baked and stuffed eggplant entree, and a pair of Adana kebabs.

    Everything was good - the Adana really made my night. The meat was firm, not moist and studded with roasted, sweet red pepper. Delicious and a wonderful and much needed alternative to the Kofta I eat all the time.

    Take a pass on Baklava - too buttery, not enough nuts. But the Turkish custard is awesome. My Mexican friends were comparing it to their favorite flans.

    Can't wait to come back and scarf some kebabs this summer on the deck while enjoying a beer - its BYOB.

    Highly recommended.
  • Post #6 - June 26th, 2008, 11:09 am
    Post #6 - June 26th, 2008, 11:09 am Post #6 - June 26th, 2008, 11:09 am
    On Habibi’s high praise in the Dawali thread, we went to Café Orchid last night for dinner. I’m happy to repeat previous praise—incredibly fresh and tasty dishes. Clearly, someone in the kitchen has a great hand for seasoning, and goes the extra mile in putting together ingredients from scratch.

    Appetizer Sampler: Hummus, ezme, babagannush, lentil fingers and tabul
    Image
    Ezme, a cold spread of chopped roasted red (bell and spicy) peppers, tomato, onion, garlic, parsley and walnut. My first-time favorite of the appetizers. Good heat, luscious, fresh ingredients, and a nice little crunch from the nuts. “Lentil fingers,” red lentil, onion, red pepper and couscous all hand-rolled into soft, spicy bullets. Great hummus and smoky babagannush. I don't love tabuli—it's usually too sharp with parsley—but this was a nice, balanced mix of tomatoes, parsley and couscous.

    Jajik
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    Tangy, slurpable homemade yogurt with chopped cuke, garlic and fronds of fresh dill—topped with sumac. A nice, cooling counterpart to the heat of the lentil fingers and ezme.

    Doner kebob
    Image
    Clearly not the shawerma-style, all-lamb steak we were searching for, but this “gyro” has made me rethink gyros. The anti-Kronos: shaved lamb ground and seasoned in-house.

    Iskender
    Image
    Lamb, beef and veal doner served over a yogurt sauce and nuggets of buttered, grilled bread and topped with a fresh, light tomato sauce.

    An excellent little café, nice (albeit loud) outdoor seating, and, while we were there, an appreciative, regular clientele that seems to know where to get authentic eats.

    Café Orchid
    1746 W. Addison
    773.327.3808
  • Post #7 - June 26th, 2008, 11:54 am
    Post #7 - June 26th, 2008, 11:54 am Post #7 - June 26th, 2008, 11:54 am
    That Iskender looks like the one I had in Izmir twenty years ago -- one of the very best things I've ever eaten.

    I need to get to this place soon.
  • Post #8 - June 26th, 2008, 2:36 pm
    Post #8 - June 26th, 2008, 2:36 pm Post #8 - June 26th, 2008, 2:36 pm
    Lovely photos, Crrush. Must keep trying to get there. Always passing by with a deadline to be elsewhere looming.
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  • Post #9 - June 26th, 2008, 4:45 pm
    Post #9 - June 26th, 2008, 4:45 pm Post #9 - June 26th, 2008, 4:45 pm
    Speaking of photos (and very nice ones they are), I've had some photos for a month or so but never got around to posting them. Now I will!

    Good fresh renditions of some classic dishes. Imam biyaldi, in a whole roasted eggplant:

    Image

    A spinach and yogurt dish, simple and wonderful:

    Image

    Note Evil Eye amulet in kitchen, protecting your shwarma:

    Image
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  • Post #10 - June 26th, 2008, 6:53 pm
    Post #10 - June 26th, 2008, 6:53 pm Post #10 - June 26th, 2008, 6:53 pm
    I am so glad this place is getting some love on LTH. It's been around for a while and was rarely mentioned. This just the type of place that LTHers seem to love - tucked away in an odd corner, breaming with character, unique menu, relatively cheap and its BYOB! Chicago has great options for Middle Eastern food, but I have always found our Turkish options to be a bit lacking. Perhaps I am biased because I was really introduced to Turkish food in NYC, where it is abundant and more often than not pretty damn good (with the occasional super excellent place). Either way, Cafe Orchid offers something a lot of Turkish restaurants around town do not - Turkish food aimed at Turkish people (at least from what I saw every time I ate there). This translates into aggressive seasonings (including a spicy ezme that will make you re-think "Thai Spicy", menu offerings beyond the faux Arabic (hummus, baba) and funky grilled (or doner'ed) lamb bathed in fresh yogurt.

    I just love this place. Oh and Crrush, did you inquire about the makeup of the doner? All lamb? A mix? Just curious.

    Peace peace!
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #11 - June 26th, 2008, 9:44 pm
    Post #11 - June 26th, 2008, 9:44 pm Post #11 - June 26th, 2008, 9:44 pm
    It's one of those doomed spaces that's been so many things that I certainly kind of ignored Cafe Orchid when it first opened as just more of the same. (I've written about at least two previous restaurants in the space--Cafe Demir, and long before that on Chowhound, Red Corner.) Mixteco Grill was another, looked like it would be no better than a previous Mexican inhabitant in the space (which I wrote about somewhere here). You never know about places, how much history they're carrying over from a previous place, whether the name change means any reason to give them another shot.
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  • Post #12 - June 27th, 2008, 11:49 am
    Post #12 - June 27th, 2008, 11:49 am Post #12 - June 27th, 2008, 11:49 am
    Habibi wrote:Oh and Crrush, did you inquire about the makeup of the doner? All lamb? A mix? Just curious.


    Of course I asked! :D It is all lamb, and all tasty. A great recommendation.

    It is, however, not shawerma. I understand they are similar creatures, and I'm no expert or connoisseur, but the texture is completely different. Gyros/doner kebab are ground, seasoned meat formed into a cone. Shawerma is shaved from made from stacks of whole 'steaks.' Like the difference between meatloaf and flank steak...

    The ezme was nice and spicy, and truly a favorite from the meal, but Thai hot? It has a nice kick, but it didn't make me break into a sweat the way some dishes at Lao Sze Chuan or Spoon Thai do.

    I'm intrigued by the Skewered Mussels on the menu (also advertised on the sign, so I'm assuming it's a specialty, like Iskender). Ever tried 'em?
  • Post #13 - June 27th, 2008, 2:31 pm
    Post #13 - June 27th, 2008, 2:31 pm Post #13 - June 27th, 2008, 2:31 pm
    We are going to try this place tonight - I'm quite excited! Nothing has quite filled the hole left by the loss of Cafe Demir (....sigh) so perhaps this will soothe our broken hearts.
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  • Post #14 - June 27th, 2008, 8:40 pm
    Post #14 - June 27th, 2008, 8:40 pm Post #14 - June 27th, 2008, 8:40 pm
    Just returned from an absolutely delicious meal here.

    The bread that came with the jajik was almost as good as Turquoise (my favorite bread in the city) and my donor kabob was excellent as well. Plus, no wait for a patio table on a Friday night. Considering I live within walking distance, the prices are more than reasonable and its BYOB, I'm pretty sure I'll end up being a regular here.
  • Post #15 - June 28th, 2008, 6:23 am
    Post #15 - June 28th, 2008, 6:23 am Post #15 - June 28th, 2008, 6:23 am
    What a great meal.

    The ezme was a little heavy on the jalapenos, but the patlican salata and baked baby eggplant were outstanding, as was the iskender (aka gyros from heaven).

    It was good enough to wipe away the sad ghost of its previous occupant, Demir Fast Food (....sigh). Parking is a real challenge, though, so be prepared to leave the SUV at home.
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  • Post #16 - December 28th, 2008, 8:46 am
    Post #16 - December 28th, 2008, 8:46 am Post #16 - December 28th, 2008, 8:46 am
    Cafe Orchid

    Image

    Four of us shared a pleasant Saturday lunch at Cafe Orchard, though nothing really popped with the exception of Ezme, loved the textural contrast, crunchy walnut, smooth rounded flavor of roasted peppers in combination with spiky garlic, onion and bright note of parsley. The heat/spicy quotient was surprisingly/pleasantly, high.

    Ezme

    Image

    Prefunctionary Donner Kabob with food service fries was uninteresting, bland even textured meat, overabundance of thin sauce causing lavosh to disintegrate almost immediately.

    Donner Kabob

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    Manti are not on the lunch menu, but they were happy to prepare, I should have left well enough alone. Small doughy dumplings filled with nondescript meat in a chilled yogurt sauce that seemed at odds with the warm manti.

    Manti

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    Small taste of the 'meat' soup left a positive impression with the meat reminding me of peppery kreplach filling. I was most disappointed with Cafe Orchid's Hummus with sausage & pastrami, envisioning hummus as accent for powerfully flavored basturma (Turkish pastrami) dotted with olive oil infused sausage.* Reality - bland basturma, no sausage and bland flavored hummus. I know, I used bland twice in the same sentence, deservedly so.

    Hummus with sausage & pastrami.

    Image

    I could go on, but frankly I'm thinking I had post holiday palate fatigue and subtle flavor was all but lost on me. Overall impression of Cafe Orchid was positive, Turkish tea strong, room comfortable, after Pigmon took the initiative to turn the sound down on the tv, and our waitress informed, efficient and easy on the eyes. I'll definitely give them another go.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *I was picturing Salam's full flavored generously portioned hummus and meat
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  • Post #17 - December 28th, 2008, 12:39 pm
    Post #17 - December 28th, 2008, 12:39 pm Post #17 - December 28th, 2008, 12:39 pm
    That's too bad, I liked some things there as posted above (the spinach-yogurt dish was easily the best), but even though I live close enough that I could hop over there at the drop of a hat, I must admit I haven't been back since the post above. Frankly, though I was a public fan of Turkish food back in Chowhound days, I find most Chicago versions of it kind of bland now, the widespread admiration for the late Nazarlik completely baffled me, for instance. I've had some excellent middle eastern food lately which was so fresh and bright with flavor, not to mention impeccable cooking of grilled meats and so on, that it's really kind of turned me off the hit and miss food available in the city, even at the much-hyped Kedzie spots or other popular places like Big Buns or Sultan's Cafe.
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  • Post #18 - December 28th, 2008, 12:54 pm
    Post #18 - December 28th, 2008, 12:54 pm Post #18 - December 28th, 2008, 12:54 pm
    Mike G wrote:I've had some excellent middle eastern food lately which was so fresh and bright with flavor, not to mention impeccable cooking of grilled meats and so on, that it's really kind of turned me off the hit and miss food available in the city, even at the much-hyped Kedzie spots or other popular places like Big Buns or Sultan's Cafe.


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  • Post #19 - December 28th, 2008, 6:12 pm
    Post #19 - December 28th, 2008, 6:12 pm Post #19 - December 28th, 2008, 6:12 pm
    In defense of Cafe Orchid...

    Guys....Turkish ain't Arabic - and I know you know that. The point is, I got to Orchid because I am SICK of eating hummus, baba, etc. I go there when I want a warm salad of zuchini and dill, or when I want ezme (the red pepper walnut dish Gary described above), etc. Don't judge a Turkish place by it's hummus or falafel - would you order Spaghetti at a Mexican restaurant?

    I've had many many great meals at Orchid. I have even remarked that it is the Salaam of Turkish restaurants that I had always dreamed would grace this city. Before Orchid, I would not eat Turkish in Chicago, having developed my taste for it in NYC, I just never found a place that stood out here. That changed with Orchid. Orchid is not, IMHO, the Turkish places of the Chowhound era described above. It something far superior, with a more varied menu, and an attention to authentic flavors that you won't find elsewhere.

    Point is I think its a great restaurant, certainly the best Turkish in the city, and kabobs and doner that often make me think twice about eating at Salaam.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #20 - December 29th, 2008, 3:18 am
    Post #20 - December 29th, 2008, 3:18 am Post #20 - December 29th, 2008, 3:18 am
    I'd love to post about what I ate a few weeks ago when we ate here....but I don't remember.

    What I do remember and want to post about is how helpful they were.

    We typically walk to Trader Joe's a time or two each week, pass this place and say, "Hmmm, one day we should try it." But, since we have the gluten-free issue, we often don't try new places, settling for the few tried and true. I'm in no way minimizing what restaurant staff must do when faced with dietary restrictions (I've been that staff), but it gets psychologically devastating to have to go through the explanations, the back and forth, and then to be told that they can't serve you anything. After years of this, we stay home more and more. Sometimes you just want to enjoy a dinner you didn't cook of food cooked in a way that maybe you can't cook or with ingredients you don't have access to.

    On this particular night, we strolled in about ten PM as we walked home from TJs. We decided to chance it; we'd been lucky a few weeks before at Sun Wah and were hoping we'd strike it rich again. The waitress with whom we spoke seemed to "get" what we could and couldn't have, but quickly waved us into the kitchen area to speak with the owner and chef to verify things. So far, so good. They read labels, asked us questions, verified ingredients and decided on three or four things that would be safe.

    As I write this, I do remember one of the items we ordered was an okra dish that we both liked quite a bit. But, back to the ordering experience.

    The last sticking point...the rice. Most Turkish restaurants make their rice with a type of semolina pasta in it - not gluten free. The owner offered to make rice for us without the pasta. (The lovely wife at Nazarlik also used to do this for us.) We happily agreed to the choices. He immediately started cooking.

    We happily sipped our tea while we waited, paid when our food was ready, offered another hearty round of thank yous, then headed home with our groceries and food. A few blocks later, the food on the counter, plates being filled, we realized we had no rice. It was close to 11 PM by now. We called them and they apologized, saying they ran out after us but didn't see what direction we walked and couldn't find us. Not a problem, they said, they'd deliver it to us.

    Five minutes later, the rice was at our condo. It must have been a quart's worth, enough rice for six or eight people. The only damper was that someone has made a mistake with the salt and the rice was not edible. I was able to rinse it off however as the salt mistake seemed to be an addition after cooking. I rinsed well, drained, then added a bit more oil and all was OK. We reheated the food and sat down to eat, happy we'd found a new place that was not only able to accommodate us, but that did so seemingly as if we really mattered to them.
  • Post #21 - December 29th, 2008, 9:45 am
    Post #21 - December 29th, 2008, 9:45 am Post #21 - December 29th, 2008, 9:45 am
    Nice story, V.A.

    Habibi, true enough that Turkish food is not Arabic, but for me it easily enough falls within the broad heading of middle eastern by style if not history, not only because so many middle eastern staples are easy enough to find at Turkish restaurants but because the reverse is true-- one of the best things I had recently at a Palestinian restaurant, for instance, was basically imam biyaldi. Maybe it's not like ordering spaghetti at a Mexican restaurant-- more like ordering the fajitas. :)

    Anyway, even though I have yet to find the great Turkish restaurant, it does seem as if that's a cuisine that's getting closer to authenticity in Chicago than it has, so maybe the day will come soon when the distinction between Turkish and the sort of generic pan-middle eastern we see around a lot will be more clearcut.
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  • Post #22 - December 29th, 2008, 9:59 am
    Post #22 - December 29th, 2008, 9:59 am Post #22 - December 29th, 2008, 9:59 am
    Habibi wrote: would you order Spaghetti at a Mexican restaurant?


    Absolutely. Pasta has become an important, common, and authentic part of Mexican cooking. Sopa seca (dry soup) - usually an early course in Mexican multi-course meals - is made most often with vermicelli noodles (sometimes rice). When prepared well, it is full of delicious flavor.
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  • Post #23 - December 29th, 2008, 3:38 pm
    Post #23 - December 29th, 2008, 3:38 pm Post #23 - December 29th, 2008, 3:38 pm
    We love having this place in the neighborhood. We've eaten at the restaurant several times and ordered takeout (via GrubHub, I think) on a few different occassions. While the proprietors of Cafe Orchid are obviously focused on being a reliable neighborhood eatery, the food can oftentimes go beyond what you would expect from a neighborhood joint, even (occasionally) bordering on some of the best of its kind in the city. Nearly every dish on the menu is a decent bargain, as they tend to be large and very fairly priced.

    For apps, we especially like the calamari and the feta platter. We've never had the Ezme but definitely will now after reading about it here.

    For entrees, the Iskender is different and delicious and my favorite thing on the menu. My lady likes the Turkish Ravioli. Kebabs are mostly really good, but we weren't as hot on the chicken drumstick kabobs as we found them to be a little on the tough side and way too salty.

    We'll stop by the restaurant to eat, especially in the summer when the patio is open (and full of older Turkish gentlemen), but we really love the place for takeout. We don't live far so the food doesn't have time to get cold, but most impressive is the amount of effort they put into their takeout. So many places will just dump your food into a styro container and toss it into a paper bag, but Cafe Orchid really seems to go the extra mile to make sure that even takeout dishes look appetizing as soon as they are opened. That level of attention to detail will have us eating at Orchid for a long time.
  • Post #24 - December 29th, 2008, 4:41 pm
    Post #24 - December 29th, 2008, 4:41 pm Post #24 - December 29th, 2008, 4:41 pm
    There are some dishes that give me consumptive dissonance, my take on the psychological concept of cognitive dissonance. I had this experience with the Iskender ($13) from Cafe Orchid. I consider consumptive dissonance to be the discomfort that arises from knowing that I am full and satisfied, yet having a dish so tasty that I continue to eat it. Almost unknowingly, the fork makes trip after trip while my stomach expands reluctantly and my taste buds frolic. You can tell when it's manifesting because you'll hear me say, "Okay, now I'm done." or "Seriously, that's it." Before, during, and after each bite, I know that, obviously, this will be the last bite. It's not. Cue dissonance. Though while the real one will give you mental discomfort, consumptive dissonance focuses on physical.

    I'll echo Odin (I wish I could say that phrase more often) in praise of their delivery. No eat-in experience to compare against, but ordered off of GrubHub last week on a cold, nasty night. My roommate and I both got Iskender (thank you very much, upthread food porn) and received it between warm and hot within the specified time. The bread underneath had perhaps gotten even soggier in transit than it was meant to be, but still had some chew and a crazy good buttery taste. Plus, considering the tasty meat and tomato juices it was sopping up, I did not mind. The meat itself was tender but not mushy, provided a really important counterpoint chew to the mostly mushy dish, and held its flavor against the tomato sauce. Mixing with the accompanying yogurt helped tone down the beefy-acidity overload. I appreciated that even though the dish has bread in it, they sent along bread on the side too, as this is a dish that lends itself to dipping and scooping.

    Including delivery and tip, a bit more than I spend on a weeknight meal in general, but worth it for sure. Won't be back weekly for that reason, but Cafe Orchid has earned a solid spot in the rotation and I'm looking forward to checking out the patio during summer.
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  • Post #25 - January 14th, 2010, 10:54 pm
    Post #25 - January 14th, 2010, 10:54 pm Post #25 - January 14th, 2010, 10:54 pm
    I have had many wonderful meals at Cafe Orchid. As mentioned up-thread, the Iskender is always great-- tender lamb with a light sear on the outside and a coarse crispy bread, soaked with the lamb drippings. Also, I always order the roast eggplant salad. It's always smoky and fresh -- never sour like so many eggplant dishes. It must be me favorite eggplant dish in the city. Finally, I always finish with the kazandibi, a light turkish custard carmalized on the top, dusted with cinnamon.

    I'm amazed that Cafe Orchid doesn't get more discussion here...it's a quintessential LTH kind of place.
  • Post #26 - November 5th, 2010, 11:13 am
    Post #26 - November 5th, 2010, 11:13 am Post #26 - November 5th, 2010, 11:13 am
    This place can't be beat, it blows away all the other Turkish places in the city. I took a Turkish friend there once and he nearly fell over when he tasted the grape leaves, the Turkish ravioli, and the Iskender (quote: "If I close my eyes, it's like I'm in my grandmother's kitchen back home"). And at that point, he hadn't even tried the AMAZING Uskudar, if he had I'm convinced he would have passed out with ecstasy.

    Don't know what Tukish ravioli is? Or what the difference between Iskender and Uskudar is? Think you know what good grape leaves taste like? Well, one or two (or ten) visits to Cafe Orchid and you'll be an expert, because the extremely courteous and knowledgeable staff will set you straight with your ongoing foodie education.

    If you're lucky, you'll pick a day when they make their baklava, it is melt-in-your mouth good. The custard dessert is also a standout.

    Oh, and did I mention it's BYOB and that they have a very charming interior? The location is super-convenient, as they share a parking lot and the restaurant is only steps away from the Addison Brown stop CTA line.
    Last edited by spf5000 on November 5th, 2010, 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #27 - November 5th, 2010, 11:33 am
    Post #27 - November 5th, 2010, 11:33 am Post #27 - November 5th, 2010, 11:33 am
    Sorry SPF but that really sounds like an advertisement. Also, I've never met a Turk whose grandmother made Iskender at home. And it's Uskudar, not Uskender. I was really confused until I went to the website.

    But what's the point in beating SPF up?

    I actually really like Orchid Cafe. The menu has a lot of traditional Turkish options and a couple non-traditional offerings like falafel, tabbouleh, and hummus, but I guess those are a must at any "middle-eastern" restaurant.

    I think their strength is their meze. They do good versions of classics like lentil kofte, imam bayildi, ezme, eggplant salad and bean salad. I rarely go out to eat those food because they're easy to make and I make them at home, but if I don't want to cook and I'd like to share those foods with friends, Cafe Orchid is my first choice.

    They also do a nice job with kebabs. I think the Iskender is passable but not exceptional, but the Adana Kebap and Kofte Kebap are both the best in town. I think other Turkish places do the kebabs equally well, but Cafe Orchid sticks out because they serve their kebabs with a side of bulgur rice and leafy greens.

    So count me a fan of Cafe Orchid. It doesn't make me forget my mother's cooking or the home country, but it's a solid choice.
  • Post #28 - November 5th, 2010, 1:22 pm
    Post #28 - November 5th, 2010, 1:22 pm Post #28 - November 5th, 2010, 1:22 pm
    Sorry turkob, but your response makes you sound like a grumpy cynic. Why else would you mistake enthusiasm for an advertisement? I was really confused by your fallacy as well. You see, I've never met anyone taller than me. But does that mean that there are no other food lovers out there taller than me? Hmmm, probably not. So I guess my Turkish friend's grandmother just might have made Iskender at home after all, I mean how would you know? And what does it matter if my friend was referring to the Iskender, he might just have been talking about his grannie's mouth-watering grape leaves...

    Also, the food didn't make my friend forget his home country, it made him fondly think of it...not quite the same thing.

    But anyway, what's the point in beating turkob up? We both like Cafe Orchid right?

    I actually think their strength lies in their main dishes, since as turkob says the meze dishes are easy to make at home. But any menu item with eggplant in it, meze or otherwise, is a must-try.

    I do agree that the quality of the Iskender is not always uniform, but on its worst day, it is much more than passable, it's one of the best kebab-based dish in the city. But the Uskudar is even better.

    If any of you out there are curious about how the passions of two Turkish food enthusiasts could be ignited on LTH forum like this, well then you'll just have to go visit Cafe Orchid and find out!
  • Post #29 - November 5th, 2010, 1:46 pm
    Post #29 - November 5th, 2010, 1:46 pm Post #29 - November 5th, 2010, 1:46 pm
    Spf5000 - I don’t think he/she meant anything personal. There’s a pretty good history here of the following:

    1) Old thread about a restaurant is revived by the first post from a brand new member.
    2) New poster raves about everything, including some trivial things (ex. free parking and close to the brown line stop). There’s not a mention of anything that was marginal, average or outright bad. The post, in essence, sounds like a glorified advertisement for the establishment.
    3) New poster is exposed to be associated with restaurant….either owner or close friend of owner.
    4) And most obviously, report potential shill to moderator rather than approach them directly. They will sniff out a shill from the well intentioned enthusiast.

    Hey, I love Café Orchid too, but my shill radar was screaming after your initial post.
    Last edited by HT70 on November 6th, 2010, 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #30 - November 5th, 2010, 2:15 pm
    Post #30 - November 5th, 2010, 2:15 pm Post #30 - November 5th, 2010, 2:15 pm
    I didn't mean to get into a scruff. I was in the middle of writing more posts about my trip to Turkey and I saw this thread revived. It doesn't matter if spf is a shill or not, Cafe Orchid is a restaurant worth visiting. I like some of the dishes at Turquoise better, but overall Cafe Orchid is more authentic and a better value.

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