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Cafe Orchid

Cafe Orchid
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  • Post #61 - December 1st, 2014, 9:57 am
    Post #61 - December 1st, 2014, 9:57 am Post #61 - December 1st, 2014, 9:57 am
    Vital Information wrote:...maybe it's just old age.

    And maybe you're just fully kräusened. I know I got pretty kräusened over the holidays.
  • Post #62 - December 1st, 2014, 10:54 am
    Post #62 - December 1st, 2014, 10:54 am Post #62 - December 1st, 2014, 10:54 am
    I'm glad you posted, Rob because I'd forgotten to post about an experience here about a month ago that completely bummed me out. I used to be a big fan of this place but my most recent meal here was probably my last meal here. Service was typically surly and unfriendly. Food was decent, on the lower end of their range, but we were seated at 9:02 pm on a Saturday evening and were told that the oven had been turned off for the night at 9 pm. Gee, thanks. This resulted in a good portion of the menu not being available for ordering. I'll admit that Orchid wasn't our first choice on this particular night but after this experience, I doubt it ever will be in the future.

    If I wanted to go somewhere that effectively shut it down this early, I could have stayed in the suburbs. :wink:

    Sheesh.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #63 - January 14th, 2015, 7:16 am
    Post #63 - January 14th, 2015, 7:16 am Post #63 - January 14th, 2015, 7:16 am
    It sucks there have been a couple bad experiences at Cafe Orchid lately. I don't visit them very often but I do get delivery from them now and then and I think their quality has remained consistent.

    A frustration I have with many Turkish restaurants, Cafe Orchid included, is that they include many non-Turkish dishes on their menu. This extends beyond the levantine classics like baba ghanoush, hummus, falafel, and tabuli. Cafe Orchid's kebabs are a mixed bag of generic continental meat preparations and pretty expensive for what they are. I've always felt it's entirely too easy to order a mediocre meal there. Also it burns me that the imam bayildi, a classic Turkish dish, is such a small portion for 7 dollars. It's a fine rendition but something I rarely order because of the price.

    That being said, Cafe Orchid remains my favorite Turkish joint in town and it's where I take people when I'd like to introduce them to Turkish food without making it myself. Some favorites include the lentil fingers, the eggplant salad (which they are inexplicably calling mussaka now), the white bean salad, the ezme, the stuffed grape leaves, the feta wraps, the fried liver, the icli kofte (which they're calling kibbe), the pides, and the zucchini pancakes. I'd recommend ordering a range of the appetizers and then rounding the meal out with some combination of manti (preferably without the tomato sauce), adana kebab with bulgur rice, hunkar begendi, iskender (with tomato sauce), and uskudar. If everyone at the table orders an entree and you split a couple appetizers you'll be missing out on many of their best dishes and have a higher price tag as well.

    I recently got a delivery order from them and I was able to feed four people a great variety of food for $20 a person with a little leftover.
  • Post #64 - January 14th, 2015, 9:49 am
    Post #64 - January 14th, 2015, 9:49 am Post #64 - January 14th, 2015, 9:49 am
    I've been trying to like Cafe Orchid more than I do. I had physical therapy next door, talked to the folks there about food, mentiond Cafe Orchid to them and got nothing in response. It seems, with Turquoise so close by, there may be no need to visit again. Does anyone else want to chime in on comparisons?
    There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. (Poe)
  • Post #65 - January 17th, 2015, 1:29 pm
    Post #65 - January 17th, 2015, 1:29 pm Post #65 - January 17th, 2015, 1:29 pm
    I agree with what Turkob said. I've tried the hummus and falafel there out of curiosity and was severely disappointed, they really shouldn't be on the menu at all. Likewise I've never been impressed with the kebabs either, it's not that they're bad, it's just they're not at all remarkable.

    After working my way through most of the menu, my go to apps are the white bean salad and the feta wraps. Iskender is my go to entree, though I will occasionally get a kebab and opt for the bulgur. I've never had any problems and as mentioned, everything has always been consistent. Even the delivery is quick and the usual driver I get is friendly. I've never dined in, so I can't comment on the service, though it seems to be a mixed bag based on what I've read online.
  • Post #66 - March 9th, 2015, 9:32 am
    Post #66 - March 9th, 2015, 9:32 am Post #66 - March 9th, 2015, 9:32 am
    Thank you Turkob and others for the help navigating the menu. I consider myself pretty skeptical of Middle Eastern cuisine having only interacted with it through various mainstream staples (falafel, doner kabob, etc.). I have had exceptional versions of those items, but for the most part they are often disappointing and I had never plumbed the depths for more interesting dishes. With my first foray (of many I am sure) I can say that I am now a fan.

    We had the eggplant mussaka, white bean salad, fried liver and the iskender with tomato sauce. Mussaka was excellent with a nice smoky flavor I assume from broiling the eggplant. I did find the garnishing oil a bit heavy though. The white bean salad was seasoned perfectly with a great vinegar balance. However the star of the night for me was the liver; a huge plate for a reasonable price served with some tasty in their own right onions. These liver are magical, with crunchy exterior and creamy interior. I turned away for a moment and my wife had finished the plate herself!

    I liked the Iskender, the kofte were flavorful and fairly moist and the tomato sauce quite good too (and I liked the soggy bread under it all). However, the pile of yogurt is not appealing to look at and I would rather have just had more tomato sauce which was actually pretty sparse. It was probably our least favorite dish and by far the worst value. I am going to try the Uskudar next time, but I can see myself skipping entrees entirely here to get more of the delicious and cheap appetizers.

    Finally, the bread here is top quality, putting the bread service at many "better" restaurants to shame. It was flavorful and seasoned (this makes a huge difference) with excellent crust, especially the corn meal encrusted bottom. We had to restrain ourselves from filling up before the rest of the dished came out.
  • Post #67 - July 24th, 2016, 2:26 pm
    Post #67 - July 24th, 2016, 2:26 pm Post #67 - July 24th, 2016, 2:26 pm
    Had another stellar meal here yesterday. We were in a rush, and the waitstaff let us put in a quick order. Our ezme was out in no time, and our entree came out within 10-12 minutes. Quality was excellent and service outstanding. Cafe Orchid is still a favorite.
  • Post #68 - July 25th, 2016, 7:46 am
    Post #68 - July 25th, 2016, 7:46 am Post #68 - July 25th, 2016, 7:46 am
    I don't know if it's really been discussed, but there's a Cafe Orchid location in Park Ridge and the food is terrific there too. Between that and the relocation (and reopening) of Middle Eastern Flair across from Bob-O's on Irving Park, you can get some great middle eastern food pretty close to O'Hare.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #69 - March 8th, 2017, 3:11 pm
    Post #69 - March 8th, 2017, 3:11 pm Post #69 - March 8th, 2017, 3:11 pm
    Hit the Park Ridge location for the first time today (650 N. Northwest Hwy). Impressed that the place was doing a decent lunchtime trade in a mall full of vacant spaces. Could have done without the music, though, with a single Turkish song playing in a loop.
    Had my favorite Turkish dish, Iskender lamb kebab. This version was more deconstructed than what I had in Bursa. The quality of the ingredients was good, but I have to agree with comments above about some items not being a very good value. They should offer a cup of soup or side salad with these more expensive dinners. Service was a bit slow but friendly.
    I think I would've been happier with the white bean salad and the liver, based on comments in this thread. Next time.
  • Post #70 - March 8th, 2017, 5:35 pm
    Post #70 - March 8th, 2017, 5:35 pm Post #70 - March 8th, 2017, 5:35 pm
    We go to Cafe Orchid occasionally, and make an entire meal out of assorted appetizers. Solid, and BYOB in patio is a plus. Entrees usually are boring, overpriced, and overcooked.
  • Post #71 - July 16th, 2018, 7:58 am
    Post #71 - July 16th, 2018, 7:58 am Post #71 - July 16th, 2018, 7:58 am
    We joined a group of people at the Park Ridge Cafe Orchid on Saturday for an early dinner. We hadn't realized it was here -- it's the center where my in-laws had their hardware store years ago. I think this is the spot which had been pretty lousy Chinese place years ago.

    Service was outstanding -- they were very accommodating of one person in our group who is very fussy about menus, making a low-salt version of the Pide.

    Being early, SueF and I split the hot appetizer platter: one kibbe (crust a little tough, perhaps fried at the wrong temp?), two feta "wraps" (phyllo cigars with seasoned cheese, outstanding), falafel, and calamari. The bread they serve on the table is also outstanding.

    Others in the group ordered the lamacun (which is a huge serving of three discs each at least 8" across), doner, Sultan's Delight and Ala Turc (sp?). I had a taste of the doner -- quite good, very different from your average gyros or shawarma; and of the eggplant in the Sultan's Delight which was delightfully smoky. All agreed it's a place we want to visit again.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang

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