Balkanika

I nabbed a Groupon deal for a seven course tasting for two at this joint, with wine pairings. At $75, it was a steal.

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The meal opened with a lightly sweet Macedonian Muscat and a delicious tomato soup. The soup was smooth and velvety, and reminded me almost of a vodka sauce.

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Next was the Balkanika salad, which was mixed greens, beets, pine nuts and prosciutto, and served with a light red Macedonian wine. This was a hearty salad. The addition of the beets and prosciutto means that you could easily eat this dish as a main course in a larger portion.

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Next was a yogurt, feta, mint, garlic and dill dip/spread served with toasted whole wheat pita bread. This shit would be amazing on an everything bagel instead of cream cheese. It came with a shot of this absinthe/sambuca type of liquor, on the rocks.

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Next up was an eggplant and zucchini tapenade with pine nuts, onions, garlic and red peppers. I wasn’t too thrilled about this dish, but then again my wife and I are not bigs fans of eggplant to begin with. This course did not come with a wine pairing.

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My favorite course of the night was this spiced beef wrapped in grape leaf and cabbage. Each had its own flavor. In one, the meat was perfumed and spicy. In the other, it was mild and comforting. Both very good in their own way. This dish came with a red; Shiraz.

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The last savory course was chicken kebab with yogurt sauce and potatoes. The chicken was nice and tender on these, and the yogurt sauce was thicker than the typical runny white bullshit you get with a kebab. The potatoes were delicious as well. Soft, yet still firm enough to pick up with your form, and deeply flavorful. This came with a white Gavi wine from Italy.

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The dessert course was, of course, baklava. It was a little tough to break through with the tiny dessert forks, but the nutty flavor was excellent. It was a bit too sweet, however. Perhaps too much honey. It was served with a flute of Prosecco.

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The place even serves their mezes and sides by the pound in what looks like a deli counter. Nice!

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BALKANIKA
691 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10036

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