Sunday Brunch: Cafe Orlin


By Dane Feldman

Photos by Dane Feldman.

Where do I begin when it comes to brunch at Cafe Orlin, a restaurant located on St Marks Place between 1st and 2nd Ave? Like I said when I reviewed it for dinner, the spot is an absolute gem even for the East Village, which is jam-packed with incredible places to dine. This below-street-level Manhattan cafe separates itself from the crowd just enough that it’s worthwhile despite its equally impressive neighbors.

The food
Brunch at Cafe Orlin is no joke. The Middle Eastern meets Mediterranean establishment serves up French toast, classic eggs benedict, eggs Norwegian (smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon or ham), eggs Florentine (spinach instead of Canadian bacon), and Eggs Blackstone: bacon, roasted tomatoes, multi-grain toast, and poached eggs with hollandaise.

The restaurant also offers several different egg dishes, omelets, three kinds of pancakes, as well as several salads, sandwiches, vegetarian plates, and different specials each weekend. I went for the specials menu and ordered the poached eggs over potato cake: the freshest smoked salmon I’ve ever had served alongside poached eggs on top of a potato cake with a side of mixed greens, multi-grain toast, and yogurt dill sauce.

The potato cake was something between a latke and a nik and was browned perfectly on top and just the right amount of greasy all around. The greens were fresh and served with a nice vinaigrette, while the yogurt dill sauce certainly elicited notes of both the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The drinks
In my previous review of Cafe Orlin, I mentioned that I was drawn to the fact that the brunch cocktails were all classics. Today, that fact stands and at this cafe the classics include the mimosa, peach bellini, screwdriver, French 75, and the Bloody Mary as well as the Bloody Maria (tequila instead of vodka), the pomegranate sparkle, and the hot toddy.

Brunch cocktails are $10, a standard price in New York City, but if patrons order off of the brunch specials menu they can enjoy a brunch cocktail for a mere $6 instead. I basked in that glory and enjoyed a fantastic French 75 with my meal. I also ordered an iced Americano, which was excellent.

The service/ambience
Cafe Orlin’s wait staff is incredibly friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. The ambience at Cafe Orlin is wonderful and perfect for the onset of spring. The interior is flooded with natural light, which bounces nicely off of the brick walls. There are three seating areas inside and soon tables will be available outside as well.

There’s plenty to eat here for any meal, but there is not a doubt in my mind that I’ll be back for more brunch.