The other day I decided to check out Cevabdzinica Sarajevo, a long standing Bosnian restaurant on 34th Ave. I remember first reading about this place in a Grub Street article starring Judah Friedlander, who mentioned he loves the cevapi at this place. I was somewhat familiar with Balkan food from my days as an Eastern European folk dancer in San Francisco.
I invited my friend Harris along, and we met on a sunny afternoon last week. We sat down and were given menus and some bread, and chose a few things to share. The bread is called lepinja and is standard fare in Bosnian food culture. It was thick, fluffy, and tasted a bit like the grill. I loved it.
We decided to order a small plat of cevapi, a piece of spinach burek, a shopska salat, and the stuffed cabbage. The cevapi were amazing – little elongated meatballs served with raw onion and ajvar, a sweet red pepper and eggplant paste. Everything went together perfectly.
The shopska salad was comprised of sturdy iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, a light vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil, and topped with a lot of creamy feta. It was refreshing and a nice contrast to the richer dishes.
The spinach burek was also lighter than I expected, but substantial. I loved how flaky the filo pastry was.
Finally, we ate the stuffed cabbage rolls. They were stuffed with meat and rice, sat in a thin sauce, and accompanied by a few mounds of some of the most delicious mashed potatoes I’ve tasted.
We washed it down with a couple of Slovenian sodas – Jupi and Cockta. The Jupi is orange flavored and the Cockta is kind of herbal.
I took home a couple of sweet treats, a piece of baklava and a piece of hurmasica. I tried a “chocolate ball”, which turned out to be a rum ball. I’m not a big fan of rum balls in general, but this one had enough to chocolate to counteract the elements of rum I don’t care for. I think if you like rum balls, you’d really like this. I loved the hurmasica, though – just a very simple flat cake soaked in syrup. The baklava was really good, too, and was a kind that is more in the wet tradition than the dryer Arab versions. Walnuts were the nut of choice, too.
The bill came to about $40 for the two of us, and there were plenty of leftovers. Overall, the food was absolutely delicious, especially those cevapi. I would definitely go back again.
37-18 34th Ave
Astoria, NY 11101