By Andrew Z. Galarneau
A Bosnian fellow has turned the former Sal's Pizzeria into Balkan Dining (687 Kenmore Ave., 834-0462), turning out a variety of grilled meats tucked into fresh-baked flatbread plus a bevy of Eastern European treats.
Above, cevapi, seaasoned beef sausages in housemade bread ($7.99)
Yesterday was its second day open, and at dinnertime, most of the five tables were full. They are so new the friendly chief server did not know the phone number. She was happy to dial mine so I could have it, though: 834-0462.
Zvezde Granda, which looked like American Idol Serbian style, was on the widescreen. People were tucking into sausages of various calibers and compositions, some drinking glasses of salty-sour yogurt beverage between bites. While I waited for takeout, I was offered some after I expressed interest. I was also offered coffee and cake as part of the grand opening. The cherries and layers of nutty cake was pretty welcoming, I must say, and the coffee was better than expected.
The meats were vividly seasoned and not quite overcooked, though the veal kabob came close. Salt and garlic abound.
(Above, Mix Meat Plate, $14.99)
We got chopped onions in our takeout containers but did not get the promised sour cream or ajvar, the Eastern European red pepper condiment. The fresh bread was terrific at soaking up the grease like it should.
The pita - pastries that come in meat, cheese, spinach, mushroom, and potato - have the supple tenderness and just-barely-enough-tensile-strength of handmade phyllo. (That's the spinach number, above.) Whoever made them is an artist who should be encouraged, as much as possible, to carry on. How much? Five bucks.
On weekends they also have Bosnian Musaka ($6.50), zucchini casserole with ground beef and eggs, veal with potatoes (teletina sa krompirom) ($9.90), and gulash ($6.99) stewed beef tenderloin over mashed potatoes.
That's when I realized the name should probably be Balkan Diner, because that's what they're aiming for, and so far, so good.
PLEASE NOTE: this is Balkan Dining's third day, so bring cash, because they don't have the credit card setup yet, and be nice, because what they're doing is hard. (There is a First Niagara ATM across the street, and an ATM in Tin Tin, the Chinese takeout next door.)
Oh and they don't have takeout menus, so here you go:
taggedFood and Drink