Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bosnian food in SLC?

For my birthday last night my lady took me to The Old Bridge Café, a Bosnian (yes, Bosnian) restaurant in South Salt Lake. Even though it’s Congo week here on DC, I thought we'd detail the experience. We always love finding these hole-in-the-wall (in a good way) type places because they’re usually full of great food and awesome value. I can’t hardly bring myself to shell out ~$50-60 for ‘fine dining’ anymore, as the ambiance usually isn’t all that great, the food is boring, and the wait staff ooze (sad) faux sophistication. So a newish, Bosnian, Mom and Pop restaurant it was.

The place is at 249E 3300S and is small, but comfortable. It’s owned by a Bosnian named Sameric and his wife, Milojka. Samerica prides himself on everything being “homemade and delicious,” and we fortunately were able to verify the latter of his claims. For the uninitiated, Bosnian cuisine is somewhat of a balance between Western and Eastern influences, and is related to other Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes with a few Central European additions mixed in. The dishes tend to frequently feature beef and lamb, and ingredients such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, cabbage, and zucchini.

We ordered the Ćevapi (the accent mark makes it a soft c, chevapi), which is considered a Bosnian kebab. I had had one of these (actually two, with different meats in each cause I was randomly picking things off the menu) in Pula, Croatia last March and was happy to see it again. It’s made up of small grilled meat sausages of lamb and mixed beef, served with onions, sour cream, ajvar (a spicy sauce) and Bosnian pita bread (which was amazing). The Ćevapi was a hit, although the lady found all the meat a bit heavy. Refreshingly, everything was fresh and the servings were large for such a reasonable price. We ate delicious Baklava for dessert and tried one of an assortment of Bosnian fruit drinks.

The charming daughter/waitress chatted with us about their native Mostar, which apparently is in Herzegovina. It’s famous for its 16th century bridge and attracts hordes of tourists in the summer. She brought us a book about her town and pointed out her house, which was near the bridge. Amazingly, the house was destroyed in the Bosnian War, as was much of the city. The city is now mostly rebuilt, but there are still stark reminders of those days as bullet holes and old evidence of shell damage linger around town.

Overall, the restaurant was a refreshing change of scenery in terms of tasty food at a great price. Consume when you can, and ask about Mostar, as it’s not often that we get to hear a local’s thoughts on living through a war.

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