Cafe Orchid Recommended Menu

Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday-Sunday till 11

Price: $$

Lakeview storefront offering authentic Ottoman fare, including some rarely found specialties.

Restaurant Details

When Kurt Serpin says he’s cooking Ottoman cuisine, he doesn’t mean the extravagant feasts of the sultans, but he is talking about the traditional Turkish cuisine that evolved from the sultans’ expansive palace kitchens. The menu at Cafe Orchid, his compact Lakeview restaurant, is diverse, covering the expected mezes (hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, falafel), kebabs, and grilled seafood dishes (Serpin is from the Turkish city of Mersin, on the Mediterranean), but also a nice selection of less common items, like the tiny, wontonlike pre-Ottoman meat dumplings known as manti, which arrive in a deep bowl of yogurt-tomato sauce. Serpin says it takes him and his wife, Iho, eight hours to stuff enough of them for 25 orders. He’s also doing alabalik, rainbow trout cooked with mozzarella cheese; balik sarma, or grilled grapeleaf-wrapped sardines; and mercimek koftesi, spicy, cold lentil fingers. No processed gyros cone spins in this place: Serpin, who’s cooked at A La Turka and the late Cafe Istanbul, stacks the meat on the Autodoner himself and shaves it for doner kebab or iskender, a luscious, comforting dish of shaved lamb, veal, and house-baked bread, all smothered in butter, yogurt, and tomato sauce.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$

Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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