Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11
Lakeview storefront offering authentic Ottoman fare, including some rarely found specialties.
When Kurt Serpin says hes cooking Ottoman cuisine, he doesnt 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. Hes 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, whos 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.
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