Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Chicago Dining World Tour: A Filling Trip to Sarajevo

Restaurant Sarajevo
2701 W. Lawrence, Chicago

What I ate: Bosnian Chorba, Large Pljeskavica

Though my visit to Restaurant Sarajevo came late in year one of my Chicago Dining World Tour--principally a single year acute undertaking, although there has been spillover into a second year for several recaps and a few meals--I found it to be a prime example of what I was looking to discover.

Namely, to locate and enjoy ethnic dining restaurants in Chicago, especially rather unique ones that I was otherwise unlikely to find--or even look for.

I know I have traversed Lawrence Avenue several times over the years, but never noticed Restaurant Sarajevo, which has been there for about 15 years according to its owner and host.

This wouldn't seem so strange except that even after I visited the restaurant--which is at the corner of
Lawrence and Washtenaw--when I happened to riding with a friend along Lawrence, I still didn't spot it.

But yet I somehow got there when I wanted to, on what I'd say I recall as a rather brisk winter's night, but of course here in Chicago, that's essentially been all of them.

I didn't ask the name of the man I presumed to be the owner, but learned that although he hails from Bosnia, the restaurant's cuisine also covers stylings from Serbia, Croatia and the former Yugoslavia.

He was a friendly host, and server, who seemed to take pride in his establishment and was open to answering my various questions.

Such as about the spread that accompanied the basket of delicious homemade bread I was provided. It clearly wasn't traditional butter or cream cheese, and I'm not referring to the olive oil that was also provided.

I may have the spelling wrong but I believe I was told the spread was called "Chimak."

And I remember it being tasty.

As was the Bosnian Chorba = soup. Though I asked the owner and noted it down as beef vegetable, the online menu describes it as Homemade Veal and Vegetable Soup. Of course it's possible that there are two different types of chorba at Sarajevo, but either way what I had was good.

For my entrĂ©e I ordered something called Large PljeskavicaTraditional Bosnian Beef Patty Made from a Mixture of Ground Beef and Lamb Filled with Mozzarella Cheese, Served with Your Choice of Side Order.

I got it with potatoes that were rather good, but only a few bites into the aptly named Large Pljeskavica, I was quite full.

There was nothing about it I didn't like, given the mozzarella enveloped within the long strip of beef and lamb, but with even more cheese on top it was one of the heaviest things I remember eating. And I tend to think I'm a pretty hearty eater.

So although the leftovers made for another rather substantial meal, and confirmed that the taste itself was quite savory, I can't say that Pljeskavica is something I would readily order again. (No, there wasn't a "Small" version listed.)

Which isn't to suggest that I wouldn't visit Restaurant Sarajevo again--nor that you shouldn't--on a day that I arrive rather ravenous.

Of course, that's assuming that I can--once again--find it.

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