I truly love it when a friend recommends a new local restaurant for lunch. Typically, I am asked to make restaurant recommendations due to this weekly feature, people seem to think I am expert or something. So, I am generally pretty quick to jump on a recommendation, which is how I got to Saraj Restaurant over in West Des Moines.
When I go to a new restaurant I typically spend a few minutes looking it up online so I can have an idea what the menu looks like and where I should put my expectations. Thus, I knew going into Saraj that they had a mainly Bosnian cuisine balanced with a few other Intentional Cuisines as well. My initial plan was to have their Gyro, because let’s face it, a Gyro is pretty hard to mess up. But, when I arrived at lunch my companion Timothy Johnson recommended I switch it up a little and go with the Bosnian Style Gyro. I generally respect Timothy’s decision making, after all he is the reason I blog, so the switch to the Bosnian feature was not a hard sell for me.
The Bosnian Style Gyro isn’t your typical Gyro, true it does come with a protein, beef in this case, and a Tzatziki sauce, but those are really the only comparisons. The Bosnian Gyro replaced the traditional Pita Bread with a massive round Bosnian lepina bread with the addition of lettuce, tomato, and onions. At first glance I thought there was no way I would be able to finish the sandwich since, honestly, it was as round as a basketball. No joke, check out the photo! Ok, I may be exaggerating just a little, but it was huge. After my first bite I found that my attention to the conversation with Timothy really moved to the background of my consciousness, sort of like how the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoon sounds, wha wha wha wha. I couldn’t really understand what he was saying because I was so enthralled with the amazing taste combinations in my sandwich! Then, even though the experience was a complete blur, I found myself already deep into the second half of the sandwich. All told, I nearly polished the entire sandwich off, but I left just a little for the trash as I think I would have had to have been wheeled out of the restaurant had I finished it. All I can say is I highly recommend you get the Bosnian Style Gyro.
Timothy had the Burek, which is quite possibly the oddest looking meal I have seen. It looked like a long balled up piece of dough, which essentially it was. Yet, when he cut into it I saw that it was stuffed with ground beef as well . It was the other item he recommended to me so I will have to give it a try during my next visit, although I think the Bosnian Gyro will still be very high on my list of choices.
Saraj has many traditional Bosnian meals like the Burek, such as the Zeljanica and the Sirnica. Yet, they also have specialities like Chicken Kabab’s and Grilled Rack of Lamb. Their menu is also pretty balanced with items like Burgers and Cheeseburgers for the less adventuresome diners. But, I suggest you try out their authentic cuisine and leave the Cheesburgers for one of those chain restaurants.
After all, why would you eat at a chain restaurant when you can eat at Saraj?