Just tried Aroma Cafe, the family-run Bosnian standout in a Westside mini-mall (2350 Overland south of Pico, east side). My friend Julia was once a restaurant critic in Prague where bad restaurants and money-laundering go hand in hand? - and has actually spent time in Bosnia. I wanted to propagate her expert knowledge, because the meal we had was particularly fine and because PayOrPlays previous post linked from my ChowNews has vanished.
Some Bosnian classics:
- Burek are charmingly intestine-shaped phyllo pastries with a variety of fillings (shades of cheung fun / intestine-like rice noodles at dim sum). Cheese and spinach were flaky and delicious.
- Cevapi [ch-] are a delightful firm-textured minced sausage kebab distinguished by their dainty size and charry grilled exterior. Apparently the Bosnian equivalent to streetside tacos, with the same addictive quality cevapi sandwich on excellent house bread has got to be a winner. Pljeskavica are patty-ized kebabs with a different ratio of grilled exterior : juicy interior. Shish kebab is much like Persian lula kebab but a little drier than say, Raffis Platonic ideal.
- Two stupendous housemade dips of note. Kajmak is churny soured cream in which one can stand a spoon, a miracle of controlled spoilage. Ajvar is a bright red paprika, pepper and eggplant concoction. Ask for these!
- Kefir is a yoghurt drink, the native beverage ala Persian dough or Armenian taan, sans mint.
- Stuffed cabbage contains rice and ground meat as usual. This version is substantially tastier than most, not only is it served with a healthy dollop of kajmak but there is a contrast between sour leaf and moist filling that beats the squishy Eastern European stereotype. Stuffed pepper is also exemplary.
- Rotating dessert selection guarantees future visit, as the waitress favourite krempita (creamy pastry thing) was unavailable. Baklava is well above average and strudel-style apple pie is fine.
This is just the sort of restaurant I love, its priced for the people and the quality is uncompromising (plus I can add another single-restaurant category to my blog, matching Uzbeki...).
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