N, W at Broadway; M, R at Steinway St.
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If you squint into the kitchen of this Astoria stalwart, you might mistake the young female chef's hairnet for a babushka, but Djerdan doesn't need props to vouch for its authenticity. Bosnian expats opened this no-frills Balkan spot in 1997 to churn out home-style Eastern European fare like goulash and stuffed cabbage. In the bare-bones dining room, cab drivers on break and locals filling up perch on hard, wooden chairs. Rustic main dishes may be hard to tackle after an order of burek, the house specialty that is a hulking wedge of golden-crusted spinach pie that looks like the long-lost cousin of a stuffed pizza. Also available with a meat or cheese filling, the dough of this savory pastry maintains a satisfying flaky crisp, and at $4.75 could make a thrifty meal if ordered with a simple salad. Those who opt for an entrée will be met with hearty peasant dishes like the Bosanski Lonac, a few tender cubes of beef stewed in a light gravy with half a head of cabbage, root vegetables, and whole cloves of garlic, or platters of grilled-beef kabobs with a chewy pita and hot-pepper sauce. Stay for dessert and choose from umpteen sweets and cakes to go with Bulgarian coffee, only a notch weaker than the bracing Turkish variety.Recommended Dishes
Spinach burek, $4.75; cevapi, $11; bosanski lonac, $12