Café Orlin ****

41 Saint Marks Place, New York 10003
(Between 1st and 2nd)


[food inhaler (n): referring to a person who eats much too quickly.]

After having spent our day walking off the AMAZING burgers from JG Melon, Roberto and I found ourselves hungry and ready for another New York dining experience!  We hopped on the subway and headed to the East Village, where we were supposed to meet his brother at a little restaurant named Café Orlin.  The problem was that he didn’t emphasize just how little this place was!!  We were lost walking up and down St. Marks Place, distracted by the fashion statements of the trendy Village crowd and the abundance of street vendors, which almost made us feel like we were in Chinatown (You need to be both prepared and able to push your way through the crowd to get to Café Orlin). Thanks to Blackberry’s Google map application we finally found our way to the restaurant, which is marked only by a small “Café” sign (not “Café Orlin,” which I think is weird).  If you can’t find the sign though don’t worry, because the large crowd dinning outside will certainly grab your attention.  And let me tell you, this is one restaurant that you wanted to be seated outside for because it is prime for people watching and because the inside is very small and noisy.

The menu offers a little bit of everything from sandwiches to pastas and roast chicken, but there is most certainly a Middle Eastern influence as it also offers falafel, hummus, and other vegetarian dishes.  I ordered the Pan Roasted Goat Cheese Salad, which came with three generous pillows of fried goat cheese,walnuts, and slivers of green apple all tossed in a shallot vinaigrette.  I also added some grilled chicken for a little extra protein, and let me tell you that this was one of the best salads I have ever had.  The salad was perfectly dressed, the spring mix was fresh, and the chicken was warm.  And I really don’t think anything with goat cheese, fried goat cheese none-the-less, could ever be bad.  It is a perfect light and satisfying summer salad.  I had a very hard time putting down my fork, and probably came off as rude to Roberto’s brother because not only was I the first one done, but I didn’t speak a word as I was inhaling my delicious meal!

Pan Roasted Goat Cheese Salad with Walnuts, Green Apples, Grilled Chicken, and Petit Tomatoes tossed in a Shallot Vinaigrette

Roberto said that his dish was also amazing (even though he wasn’t kind enough to offer me a bite…I guess that just proves how good it was!).  He had the Chipotle-Lime Chicken, which was served with sliced avocado and chickpeas over whole grain rice (this is new to the menu, and not posted on their online menu).

The portions are very generous, leaving you satisfied and the prices are surprisingly cheap.   The salads are about $10 and the hot entrees are about $15.  The sandwiches, which are supposed to be very good are also only about $10.  The scene is definitely very trendy and youthful, and the greatest part about Café Orlin is that it is open 24 hours a day!!! I have never drunkenly craved healthy food before (I myself prefer Taco Bell for the “fourth meal”) but it is nice to know that there is an alternative.  Might be a refreshing change not to wake up covered in taco bell fire hot sauce with pieces of crunch wrap supreme on my nightstand…my stomach might like the change too!

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