In recent years, it isn’t easy to discover in metro Detroit plates full of kajmak, lepinja, and pljeskavica. Hamtramck’s Palma closed down years in the past, and even though some cevapi and burek are to be found on the town, there’s been a preferred dearth of Bosnian and Balkan delicacies — until a few months in the past. That’s when Balkan House quietly opened within the former Palma area; however, the dish that seems to be getting people speaking the most isn’t completely Bosnian — it is the döner kebab. The sandwich is Turkish in the foundation but is wildly famous in northern European international locations. Balkan House proprietor Juma Ekic says she truely was given familiar with them. At the same time, her own family fled home for Germany for seven years after a civil struggle broke out inside the Nineties in the former Yugoslavia.
The version she serves at Balkan House — a small eating place in a house on Caniff — is made extra Bosnian because she packs the contents right into a pocket of lepinja, the Balkans’ flatbread version of pita that is actually a long way superior to pita. It enables that Ekic and her circle of relatives bake the bread fresh each morning in Balkan House’s kitchen, and lepinja is puffier, lighter, and softer than most pita — it is probably the arena’s most underrated bread. Eric stuffs the pocket with salty, particularly greasy, and thinly reduces kebab meat; it is the pre-reduce gyro variety, no longer sliced from a spit. The lamb and beef are counterbalanced with clean slices of crunchy cucumber, white onion, pink cabbage, shredded lettuce, and tomato slices.
But Eric says the sauce is really what makes or breaks a döner. She discovered her sauce’s components but kindly requested that we no longer proportion it right here. It can be said, however, that it’s a totally garlicky Greek yogurt-based totally condiment. Balkan House ladles it on thick, hits it with a dusting of bitter sumac, and sends out of the kitchen a döner so packed that its contents nearly bust out of the Alpina. Balkan House’s döner lives as much as the hype, and it’s the only döner sport on the town. The subsequent closest one is made at a Bosnian restaurant in Grand Rapids, Eric says.
Lepinja is found in Balkan House’s dishes, such as the Balkan burger or pljeskavica. It’s a simple burger in a massive, halved lepinja (no pocket). The beef patty is mixed with onion, garlic, purple pepper, then charred at the griddle and served with white onions and a souffle cup of kajmak or cheese. Balkan House’s kajmak is made in-house and is an awesome blend of cream cheese, feta, and butter, and even though the menu says that it is combined inside the patty, Eric serves it at the side. Palma combined it in with the beef. However, Eric didn’t just like the presentation, so you unfold it on yourself.
Bosnian eating places are in part measured by their cevapi. Eric — who for 15 years prepared and served the sausage simply around the corner at Motor City Sports Bar — was given her recipe from an old Bosnian man on the town who enables her to make it. Cevapi is spiced with garlic, black pepper, and salt. However, its success hinges on plenty extra than spice. Good cevapi, Eric explains, uses 70-percent beef shoulder and 30-percent fats, and it’s ground 3-to-4 instances, then very well hand-mixed — a hard work-extensive process.
The cevapi comes as its own plate with eight or so logs among halved lepinja, dollops of ajvar (mild-however-flavorful crimson pepper spread), and kajmak and slices uncooked white onion and tomato. You can also get it as a part of the blended meat platter, which changed into big sufficient for a hungry pal and me. It also holds lengthy, skinny, garlicky sujuk kick sausages, a shorter, fatter veal kielbasa (Kranjska), grilled bird breasts, and a gaggle of cevapi logs. That’s accompanied through mini patties of pljeskavica, or burgers, in addition to raw onion and tomato slices.
Beyond cevapi, Bosnians are possibly nice regarded for burek, a crammed pastry, and Balkan House every so often has that or service, which is burek with ricotta cheese internal a tube of golden, light, flaky dough. It’s superb. The veal sandwich with melted swiss cheese, grilled onion, and mushrooms, and the grilled fowl sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and pink cabbage are stable alternatives, in particular, because they come on lepinja. Eric marinates her hen in a single day, but she says there is nothing especially Bosnian approximately the recipe. The bird and veal also can be ordered on skewers.
There’s actually not an excessive amount of vegetables at Balakan House because it appears a Bosnian eating regimen is meat-heavy. Still, the menu holds a phase of salads and soups, and the cabbage salad wearing oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper is a pleasing side. However, a pal requested about assembling a vegetarian version of the döner kebab, and Eric said she ought to. Rejoice, vegetarians. Balkan House isn’t short on goodies, together with some of the high-quality baklava in town, a Turkish recipe made with the aid of Hamtramck’s new Balkan Sweets corporation. It also offers dessert crepes; a banana cake roll called a mellow role and candy, and plenty extra. There is not any booze — Bosnia is largely a Muslim u. S . — however, there are smoothies, Turkish coffee, and other options.