Seafood, Serbian Style

Sunday night, Balkan Express Restaurant hosted an orthodox new year seafood feast. This is a small Serbian restaurant in the Graduate Hospital area, just a stone’s throw from Grace Tavern. It is operated by an adorable husband and wife team. The husband is the chef, and they even smoke all their own meats and fish here. They are normally closed on Sundays, and were just open on this Sunday for this special fixed price meal.

We first started with some seafood appetizers. There was a mushroom top with caviar. I am not a huge fan of mushrooms, and I had never had caviar before (that I can remember), but I liked this! There was also a deviled egg type thing, but with a seafood filling. Also, smoked salmon filled with more seafood. All of this was very good. I’m not the hughest smoked salmon (or salmon in general) fan, but I even liked it. And like I said, they smoke this themselves! I would love to see where / how they smoke all this stuff.
Next course was a seafood chowder. Another good dish. After that was a calamari salad with honeydew. A strange mix indeed, yet still good! Fresh, light, and different.

The entree was a mix of various seafood dishes. Starting clockwise from the top, we have sturgeon with a caviar sauce. I’ve never had sturgeon, and this was a very meaty fish. It almost even looks like pork. I liked it, but I wasn’t crazy about it. Right of the sturgeon is moussaka. Loved it. In the middle was an artichoke top stuffed with shrimp. I don’t like artichoke, but I ate up the shrimps in the middle. The bigfish filet on the bottom right was red snapper. This had a fantastic brown sauce, it was a lovely piece of fish. The shrimp skewer was on top of some rice. Rice good, shrimp great! And finally, at 9 o’clock is a scallop wrapped with home smoked proscuitto. This was ok. I was so stuffed at this point, I didn’t finish all of my food. And that so rarely happens with me.

For dessert, we got some orange cake and hazelnut cake. These were both excellent. A great ending to a great meal. And as an extra added surprise. they also gave us complimentary champagne, in celebration of the new year, along with some homemade slivovitz, a serbian plum brandy. This stuff was super strong, even though since this was homemade, it was much weaker than commercially produced slivovitz. I felt privileged to be treated to some homemade serbian moonshine!

This was an excellent meal. The owners were so nice and the wife explained everything to us and spoke with us many times throughout the meal. The husband/chef even came out at the end and charmed us all with his hilarious anecdotes. I think their kid was one of the servers. Poor kid, being forced to work at his parents’ restaurant instead of being allowed to participate in regular teenage shenanigans. This was a long meal as well, clocking in at about 3 hours. But all the more better since it was shared with good company, food, and restaurateurs.

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Seafood, Serbian Style
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