I had a perfectly delightful lunch experience at Virgin Olive Market, which categorizes itself as a neighborhood noshery. Sort of makes you wonder if there's such a thing as a global noshery.
VOM is in the NoDo area (north of downtown) in the buidling that also holds Citrus restaurant. most recently, this space was taken by a coffee bar. here the offerings are mainly the three esses: soups, salads and sandwiches. I didn't try the salads, but I can attest that the soup and sandwich categories are executed nicely.
From the list of soups offered the day I visited I selected the gazpacho, the go-to soup when the weather is so hellishly hot as it has been these days. But even though the soup was served chilled it was still packing some heat. Mixed in with the tomatoey broth and chunky, fresh vegetables was a heaping helping of hot sauce that had my scalp sweating. Maybe the theory is that the soup makes you so hot that it feels cool when you step outside. Whatever, I like the fullness of the flavors and the freshness of the veggies.
For my sandwich I selected the roast beef, although to be exact it is called the Brute on the menu. I'm not sure why restaurants feel the need to give their dishes cute names. Doesn't is just make it all the more difficult to part with them and watch them be devoured? I'd rather not get personally attached to my food. But I can understand the macho designation for this one because it was indeed beefy. It featured rare roast beef with Havarti cheese on ciabatta bread, with organic greens, tomato and horseradish-infused mayonnaise. The beef was amply applied, and the ciabatta had a wonderful hard crust that gave way to soft bread flesh underneath. It came with a small ramekin of potato salad, although indeed it was mostly just boiled potatoes.
Virgin Olive Market has several high tables and a counter along a wall in the back with stools for people who want to eat in. There are also a few spots outside to nosh at. The folks are all real friendly. I placed my order at the counter, then someone came out with my soup -- in a realy bowl! -- and carried it over to atable for me. While I enjoyed that, someone else brought out my sandwich. Very nice.
Breakfast is also served, but nothing too elaborate. There are some bagel-based sandwiches and cereals, including oatmeal. But we're not talking fluffy omelets or Belgian waffles.
Virgin Olive Market is at 807 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for Monday through Saturday. It stays open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Beer and wine are available. Sandwiches range from $5.25 to $6.50. You can see the full menu at the Virgin Olive Market Web site. Phone number is 407-601-7848.