Not too long ago, a group of us were craving pancakes and met up for brunch at Café Orlin on St. Marks Place. The lines outside of this place are notoriously long and if there’s one thing I won’t do it’s wait in a long line. (I am very busy and important, plus, there are a gajillion places to eat in New York City and, if you keep me waiting, I will move on.) Thankfully, our party was seated quickly and I was excited to find out what the big deal was inside this place.
My first impression was, “It’s huge in here!” Exorbitant rents usually keep city food establishments from having more than a handful of tables and barely inches between them, if that. At Café Orlin, there was room aplenty and enough tables to accommodate a large family gathering, but it never seemed overwhelming. The dark woods and large windows made it feel warm and bright at the same time.
The restaurant’s fare is deemed “eclectic and international,” though it leans Middle Eastern with baba ghanoush and tabbouleh plates on the menu. Brunch, offered on Saturdays and Sundays, is your usual choice of eggs, pancakes/French toast, or salads/sandwiches, but Café Orlin puts such a clean and organic spin on everything that you’ll think you’re eating on a farm instead of at a bustling restaurant in the heart of the East Village. Everyone at our table chose a main omelet dish and then split a side of pancakes in order to sample as much as possible in one sitting. The verdict: delicious!
One of my rules of living in the city is that I rarely frequent an eatery twice because there are just too many places from which to choose and I want to try as many as possible, but, with Café Orlin, not only will I make an exception, I already did. My boyfriend and I loved it there so much that we invited his entire family out to join us one Sunday and they fell just as much in love with the place as we did. And I’m glad we went back because our first server was underwhelming where as the one we had during our second visit was extremely friendly and accommodating.
As mentioned above, everything in Café Orlin is fresh, fresh, fresh, including their freshly brewed coffee, which means refills are not free, but it’s a small price to pay for quality.