Last night Joypirate and I decided to check out the Balkan Express Restaurant -- aka the Balkan Restaurant, as their sign calls them -- and we had a great evening.
Their theme is that they have food from every country that the Balkan Express (train) goes through -- that's basically France to Serbia. We went for the Easternmost offerings, as recommended by the Proprietor (Radaman?) and his wife, Wendy -- as we were the only occupants of the restaurant, we spent much of our evening chatting with this extremely friendly couple.
We started with an appetizer platter of 3 smoked meats, feta cheese, mozzarella, pepperocinos and olives ($4.95) which was really good - we especially liked the smoked beef.
We then each had a cup of Serbian bean soup ($4.95 but a cup or a salad comes with your entree) which I think had canellini beans and... lardon? Some kind of little cubes of bacony pork. Really good. Maybe my favorite part actually.
For entrees, we split two: The Sarma, which is stuffed cabbage approximately as my grandmother used to make it but with less tomato involvement, a side of new potatoes, a small piece of the aforementioned pork product. $8.95.
Entree two was more new to me --"Muckalica" is a stew of beef strips, peppers, onions, and tomato, which I thought had great flavor although as JP noted to me, the beef was not as tender as it could be. This was served with a very mushroomy pile of rice, which I enjoyed as well. $11.95.
We split a baked apple and a piece of baklava for dessert -- the apple was covered in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, and I would definitely say this is the wrong way to eat an apple. The Baklava, however, was one of the best I've had - though I believe this is because it was Turkish style and not Greek, and was therefore much less gooey and cloying than baklava often is. I thought it was fantastic -- and somehow juicy, if that makes any sense with pastry. Desserts are $3.
Radaman also gave us each a shot of his homemade plum brandy, but I'm pretty sure that's because JP was asking about Serbian alcohol.
All together, it was extremely good food for the price -- and it was fun trying out new stuff. They said they're going to change the menu regularly to reflect what is actually eaten in those parts of the world at various times of the year, and that every Friday night they are having a price-fixed soup-to-nuts option of a new variety (this Friday is veal). They said they're thinking that will be around 16 dollars, but that the price will vary from week to week.
I definitely recommend that you check out this unique eatery.