Our Man Sietsema and the World’s Most Perfect Minced Meat


Our Man is a champion of the Muslim Bosniak fare mainly found in Queens. Now he finds himself eating the closely related food of Christian Serbs: Kafana, a restaurant that bills itself the only Serbian restaurant in the city.

The cuisine here is similar to that of their Muslim neighbors, except that the Serbians are free to use pork. Thus Our Man comes face to face with what he calls the most perfect minced meat combo in the world: beef, lamb and pork.

“When mixed with egg whites and formed into skinless sausages, it assumes the guise of cevapi ($11.95), which arrive sizzling and imbued with good smoky flavor, so pleasantly rubbery they’d bounce off the floor like superballs if you dropped them. When formed into patties, the minced meat is called pljeskavica, another main course.”

Our man also likes the bureks, or pite as they are called here.

“A variation on this pite is definitely worth sampling: Gibanica (“Gih-bahn-eecha,” $5.45) takes the elements of a cheese burek – thin pastry sheets, feta, and egg – and mixes them so that the phyllo winds up inside the filling. This brilliant conceptual move transforms the phyllo into something like wadded noodles, and the burek thus becomes a yummy Balkan mac-and-cheese.”

Yum! Balkan mac-and-cheese!

All in all, Our Man enjoys himself here, appreciating that the food hasn’t been gussied up, but is really reflective of how Serbians eat in Serbia.