Out to C
by Julie Besonen, 04/23/2014
Photo: Malcolm Brown
116 Ave. C, 212-353-8000, East Village, Manhattan
Imagine you have a Serbian grandmother who loves having you to dinner in her little house nestled in a Balkan village. That's the vibe at Serbian expat Vladimir Ocokoljic's Kafana, complete with hugs (for regulars), old family photos filling the walls and traditional cevapi—zesty, charcoal-grilled sausage fingers. The meal begins with hunks of bread and ajvar, a piquant red pepper and olive oil spread. Wine is a good idea, since it's rare to find so many interesting vintages from Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia. The friendly Serbian server is eloquent with descriptions and offers tastes for the clueless. She may also direct you to the spongy, cheesy, eggy spinach pie; the rolled, breaded schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese; and the pljeskavica, a mighty, charcoal-grilled, Serbian-style burger. Note that it's cash only.