Back to the Balkans in Astoria

Cevabdzinica Sarajevo is a hound hangout that hounds rarely talk about. That's probably because this bare-bones Balkan grill in Queens hasn't changed much over the years, and to Bob Martinez, that's a good thing. "While it’s fast food," Bob says, "it doesn’t have to apologize for itself. All the meats are grilled to order."

Try a plate of cevapi, a cigar-shaped beef-and-lamb sausage. "Great stuff," Bob says—juicy inside, nicely browned and almost crunchy outside. Add chopped onion or kajmak (clotted cream), if you like, and season to taste with ajvar (red pepper paste), crushed dried chile, or even a squirt of Trappey's Red Devil hot sauce.

Bob also recommends the pljeskavica, made from a similar beef-and-lamb blend. Known somewhat misleadingly as a "Balkan burger," it's actually a wide, bunless patty, though you can fashion your own burger of sorts using pieces of lepinja, the hefty flatbread that's served warm on the side. However you consume it, Bob says, "you're not going to go hungry. This is the everlasting gobstopper of burgers. You just keep eating and eating. My GF and I split it and it was still a lot of food." Between the cevapi and the pljeskavica, he adds, "I have a hard time figuring out which one I like more. I solve that problem by ordering both."

Cevabdzinica Sarajevo [Astoria]
37-18 34th Avenue (at 38th Street), Astoria, Queens
718-752-9528

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