2007_03_bosnia.jpgIn keeping with our affection for offbeat bites, Gothamist trekked out to Ridgewood this week to get a taste of Sietsema-sanctioned "Balkan Burgers."

Bosna Express is a dismal little place tucked beneath the subway rail at Forest Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens. Its neighbors include a Montenegrin social club and a sprawling basketball plaza dotted with the occasional deflated ball. It's not a scenic place, or even a particularly inviting one, but it has something that we hadn't yet encountered in all of our explorations—an elusive Balkan Burger.

Actually called pljeskavica, the sandwiches are a popular fast food in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. As thin and wide as a dinner plate, the patties are mostly beef with a portion of lamb mixed in for flavor. They are grilled with onions and plopped gracelessly into a pillowy split pita with layers of creamy house-made yogurt, sour cream, chopped salad and spoonfuls of ajvar, a bright red relish of pepper, garlic and eggplant.

We were warned that we couldn't finish one. We scoffed and tucked into the meaty monstrosity with confidence and very nearly made it through. It was smoky and alluring, a heavy indulgence that could feed four and should rightly feed two.

Flawless it’s not; it lacked for salt and the meat was textured such that it refused to tear without force. It might not, truth be told, hold its own in a big-ticket burger brawl. But New York’s a big city, and we believe there must be a more transporting pljeskavica to be found in its less traveled regions. Heard anything?

Bosna Express
791 Fairview Avenue
Queens, NY 11385