It turns out that the map of Turkish restaurants in Chicago we made two weeks ago for our Nazarlik post was obsolete the moment it hit the ‘net, and isn’t that always the way things go? A post in the Food Chain the very next day alerted us to the existence of Cafe Orchid, a different Turkish restaurant that opened at virtually the same moment as Nazarlik, and in virtually the same location (a mile apart in Wrigleyville). But the restaurants are conceptually different. Nazarlik is a family affair with a small menu, while Cafe Orchid is more of a full-service dealy with delivery and that all-important BYO policy.
Its menu is huge, with several dozen items for lunch, and even more for dinner. There are eleven different kabobs on offer, mostly different permutations of chicken, beef and lamb. Earthy stuff like fried liver (with diced potatoes and served with onion salad and lemon for $5.95), sardines (a filet wrapped in fresh grape leaves marinated with olive oil, garlic, grilled and served with lemon and cocktail sauce for $6.95), and lamb shank (baked with potatoes, carrots, and cabbage served with rice or bulgur for $12.95) abounds, and there’s plenty for the vegetarian: seven entrees, including a baked eggplant stuffed with tomatoes, onion, green and red bell peppers, parsley, dill, garlic olive oil and pine nut, topped with mozzarella cheese served with bulgur for $11.95.
At any rate, while there may be a lot of Turkish restaurants in the neighborhood, only two in the whole city deliver - Orchid and Cousin’s. Competition breeds quality!