Areas only Bosnian eatery is around the corner


Where does a girl have to go around here to get a decent burek, anyway? Bosnian food in the D.C. metro area doesnt exactly grow on drva (trees). Scratch that: Bosnian food on the East Coast is tough to find.

An informal survey conducted on a Metro train went something like this: Whats the first thing that you think of when you think of Bosnian food?

Many were confused. Some shrugged, I dont know, sorry. And there were a lot of quizzical looks. Bosnian food?

The riders on the northbound Yellow line must not have known they were within two Metro stops of the only Bosnian eatery in the D.C. metro area one of few on the East Coast (New York is about the only other locale from what I can gather). But they cant be faulted: Cosmopolitan Bakery, Carry Out and Catering, hidden in a strip mall that also houses a nail salon and a Tippys Taco, isnt the easiest to find. Patrons have to pull up to the storefront at 5902A N. Kings Highway and read the name on the orange menu in the window.

Just look for Euro Cafe next door, the convenience store that sells food and sweets imported from ex-Yugoslavian countries. Its connected on the inside to Cosmopolitan and owned by the same couple, Ivan and Amela Svalina.

Scrumptious and satisfying
Inside Cosmopolitan, youll find cevapcici, or grilled homemade sausages, with hot, baked-daily bread. Youll find pljeskavica, or the Bosnian take on a hamburger; among other things, the meat is marinated in red onion juice before grilling. And youll find burek, a coiled rope of homemade phyllo stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables. Like a Greek kimadopita a meat pie yet immensely more savory and satisfying. Maybe thats just because of the portion size one $5 order fills a white styrofoam tray or maybe its because truly everything is homemade.

Amela says of course its easier to buy phyllo, but thats not even close tasting to the original. It takes her only five minutes to stretch a ball of dough into enough thin sheets to make six servings of burek, but that time comes after a lot of practice.

It takes for me five minutes because Im doing it every day. Before … I needed much more time.

The restaurant is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The other thing you must know about Cosmopolitan is that until two years ago, it was a full-service, 99-seat restaurant just a few doors down. When the owners found their restaurant was 23-hour work, as Ivan puts it, they sold the place, which became a Salvadorean restaurant, Abi-II.

Cosmopolitan moved into Abis old digs. Abi-II got a bigger place to show off its pupusas, and Ivan and Amela got a more manageable restaurant and more time with their daughters. A perfect swap, as it were.

For those leery of heavy, meaty dishes, the bakery also offers a few salads, fish and wiener schnitzel this last perhaps due to the seven years the Svalinas spent in Germany before moving to Virginia in 2000. Its pretty much an international menu, Amela says. You can have … whatever you want.