October 4, 2011

Kafana: Sampling Serbian cuisine

I was very excited to go to Kafana this past week and checkout Serbian cuisine. Kafana is a small, charming restaurant in the Lower East Side.  The walls are decorated with images of Belgrade, photos of individuals (I'm guessing relatives) and other artwork.  The most prominent image displayed on the wall next to the bar and on the menu is of the Class of 1930.  I asked the waitress about the picture she explained that it is of the graduating class from a business school in Serbia, the grandfather of the owner is somewhere in the picture.
I went to Kafana for lunch and I wasn't very hungry so I decided to order two traditional food items that didn't seem too heavy. I ordered the Lepinja sa Kajmakom, which is a warm light bread served with a creamy spread.  The creamy spread tastes very similar to farmer's cheese.  The bread had a similar taste to warm pita, only slightly thicker.  I thought it would be a plate of bread where I could spread the cream as much or as little as I wanted, but instead what was served was more like finger grilled cheese sandwiches.  These were ok, although nothing I would ever order again (for the record I don't think I've ever ordered a grill cheese sandwich at a restaurant, there's always something yummier to order).
Lepinja sa Kajmakom
I decided to order the Cevapi, since it's considered a national dish.  The cevapi is grilled minced meat served with a side of raw onions.  I didn't really know what to do with the onions, it seemed like an odd combination.  The sausages were very flavorful, similar flavors to the meat found in gyros.  The cevapi is also very similar to a breakfast sausage, maybe a little juicier. 
I'm not sure how I feel about Serbian food; I didn't love anything I ate but I didn't hate it.  I guess if I happen to be near this restaurant and I'm hungry, I'll stop in again and taste one of their other traditional dishes like the stews.  Or if you have a chance to try Serbian cuisine, by all means do so and share your thoughts with me.  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

119 Avenue C (between 7th & 8th Streets)
New York, NY 10009
Phone: 212.353.8000
Closest Subway Stop: 14th Street & 1st Avenue (L)