Jacksonville, FL 32216
A few week ago a food blogger friend of mine invited me to lunch. Never one to say no to food, I agreed. This is how I learned about the Balkan Cafe. Almost hidden, on Beach Boulevard across from Super Wal-Mart in the Rowe’s grocery shopping center but on the opposite end. With a large Eastern European community in the area, it’s easy to see why they have been in business for eight years. It’s just the rest of us who have missed it. No more. Family owned and operated, by the Korjenic family, the restaurant could be viewed as a hole in the wall, with amazing food. Each family member brings something special to the mix, dad is in charge of making the sausage and other meat dishes, done in house each day so you are sure to have the freshest dishes available. Mom is the master baker, and Adnan the son, is the front of the house ambassador, his energy is infectious. I just felt good about being there.
So when I had a friend come to visit, it was a must we go to this restaurant. Adnan, greeted us warmly, as he does each customer and we seated ourselves. I knew I was in for the Greek Salad, I sampled it on my first visit, this is hands down the best Greek Salad I have ever experiences. The salad was large enough to share, served with fresh made, lemon juice and olive oil it was light and refreshing.
There are several meat dishes to choose from, but I am going to suggest the Balkan Mix, this will include a mix of cevapi, a skinless sausage of minced beef and lamb that is well seasoned, sudzuka, a more mild flavored sausage and grilled veal strips mixed with grilled mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Served on tasty flat bread, accompanied by two delightful spreads, ajvar and kaymak. Ajvar combines, roasted eggplant, red pepper, and garlic was the perfect accompaniment to the more mild sudzuka where the kaymak, a cheese that’s similar to clotted cream texture, brought cooler notes to the spicy sausage.
By the time we finished off all this food we were unable to sample any of the desserts. I am including two pictures of the desserts from my first visit. It is meant to tempt you, I trust it will work.
First the Nutella Cake, I eat Nutella from my own jar, this was so amazing, chocolate, peanut butter all in one place. Moist it tasted like it may have been made that day.
The second cake Snow White, three layers two of meringue and one of a vanilla, lemony pudding it was like eating a cloud.
One thing to note, in true European style, even though the posted hours are 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, they do close if they run out of food. Treat your self and your best food friends and visit the Balkan Cafe for a delightful experience.