Restaurant Sarajevo is a Carnivore's Dream

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Photographs: Lindsey Howald Patton

It's obvious from the start that you have to be a pretty serious carnivore to take Restaurant Sarajevo on. Know (and love) your cevapcici, pljeskavica, and veal, because although there's a fettuccini and a salad or two on the menu, the Bosnian dishes here are constructed, primarily, of meat. While not a vegetarian by any stretch, I admit that I like my meat the way small children eat their vegetables: after someone else has chopped it up in small pieces and tucked it into other delicious things. Still, I've always been curious about this restaurant, and I love those moments you get to say, 'When in Sarajevo, right?'

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The cold appetizer plate ($10) was a perfect start. The spread features three cuts of fresh and commendably cured meats, the best of which was smaller variety of dark, tender circles of sausage, which gave off a smoky-sweet, tangy barbecue spice.

The charcuterie is joined on the plate by juicy roasted red peppers and generous wedges of garlic-rubbed feta. If you picture the Greek version of this cheese, dusty and crumbly, standing on the dry end of the scale, and thick, tangy Bulgarian feta on the creamier side, then this Bosnian version from Travnik sits squarely in the middle. It would crumble gently over salad as easily as it would be spread into a warm piece of rustic bread.

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Now on to the main course—the Bosnian mixed plate ($20). It's a literal heap of the traditional meaty mainstays of the country's cuisine: a few cuts of veal, grilled chicken pounded thin, Milanese-style fried chicken cutlets, a fat and glistening patty called pljeskavica, links of Bosnian skinless sausages bound together like erasers, and a mild and herbal beef sausage. On the side, lightly fried hunks of potato had seemed the obvious choice (you can also choose creamed spinach, fries, rice, and vegetables, etc.)

These are straightforward and simple preparations, so don't expect a lot of spice and pizzazz—you'll only be disappointed. If this meal were a symphony, the notes played would probably all be within the same octave. Even the swipe of sour cream dressing the hamburger-like pljeskavica had a mild, understated flavor. And yet, especially if you're a steak-and-potatoes person, this is a great entry to a culinary tradition that doesn't get much play.

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