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Anyone know anything about Balkanika coming soon on 9th Ave in HK?

organicgirl May 9, 2010 05:02 PM

Does anyone know the scoop on the fascinating new place called Balkanika on 9th Ave in the 40s? I am guessing/hoping that this will be an exciting Balkan food space but can't seem to find any info online...

  1. o
    orthorunner May 31, 2010 10:07 AM

    It's now open. It seems to be a combination market/ small plates restaurant. Went in today and they have a lot of bulk grains/beans/spices which is fantastic. They have a few fruits/vegetables which seem a bit out of place, then they have food either to go or for there. I did try a rugelach which was much better than most of the others I've tried around here. The crust could have used a little more flakiness, but the filling was fantastic-lots of fruit and nuts that tasted as if they had been stewed together a bit. Now if only they were a bit less expensive...
    In all, a fun addition to an already-diverse neighborhood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: orthorunner
      organicgirl May 31, 2010 06:00 PM

      Yes, I stopped by there today as well. The prepared food looked suprisingly like the food counter at Kashkaval and with some help from google I found that these two places do have the same owner:
      "BALKANIKA Pando Andonopulo, an owner of the market-restaurant Kashkaval, is serving food from the Balkans, including Greece and Bulgaria, with a market in front for meze, salads, and groceries. (Opening May 28): 691 Ninth Avenue (48th Street)"
      Seems like there is a much bigger seating are in the back and a few interesting items not sold at Kashkaval (e.g. pickled apples, pickled red cabbage in big glass jars). Will definitely try the apples next time, they are hard to get right, even the folks on Brighton Beach struggle so let's see what Balkanika can offer.

      856 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

    2. d
      Demitasse Jun 8, 2010 01:33 PM

      I noticed Balkanika recently, looks appetizing. I've walked by it a couple of times, but (as is too often the case) was already on my way someplace else.

      Do they not have a website? I tried looking it up for the menu but I couldn't find anything. There aren't any reviews out there that talk about the food either. I could only find this super short one (http://hellsbellenyc.blogspot.com/201...), and of course, this thread.

      Maybe next time I'll ask for a take out menu (if they have one). I like to take my time with them, but when I'm out with people I never want to hold up the group... so reading menus ahead of time has become a really entrenched habit for me.

      691 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

      1 Reply
      1. re: Demitasse
        DavyTheFatBoy Feb 1, 2011 05:59 PM

        You can find menus for almost any NYC restaurant on Menupages.


      2. j
        josephsm Jul 27, 2010 10:01 AM

        I stumbled in here accidentally for take out lunch today and I am very impressed. They had about 15 vegetable dips or so in the display case. I got a big dollop of the beet, the celery root, the leek and the paprika/walnut, together with a few pitas and it was less than $6. The dips were fresh and absolutely bursting with flavor. I didn't pay too much attention, but there were many other interesting things in the display case and on the menu, meats too, and the back of the place had a lot of wood panelling and wines to taste. I am definitely going back.

        691 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

        1. buttertart Aug 3, 2010 09:34 AM

          We stopped in on Sunday after lunch at Pam's Encore and everything looked very appealing - the wine bar in the back very cosy - and the salads and boerek smelled fantastic. On the must-go list for us.

          1. r
            RIMSgirl Aug 21, 2010 12:10 PM

            I had dinner here last night and I'll be back soon! The salads and spreads are very good, although some seemed a bit underseasoned. The beet and dill salad and the carp roe spread were fabulous, though, and the pita (both white and whole wheat) were fresh and warm. Two of us shared a salad (eggplant), a sampler of four spreads and a spinach wrap and with two glasses of wine, the bill was less than $50. And the service was both informative and cordial. Great place on 9th!

            1. wrayb Feb 1, 2011 08:12 AM

              I've gone there 3 times now and have enjoyed my meal each time. First time got the 16 spread sampler which was interesting but as confusing as helpful to explore the choices. I echo another poster here that it seems they are a bit light on the spices. Still good. Service good and though they are substantially a wine bar (seems good bottle prices), my mate don't do wine so we've enjoyed good beer with the meals. Hot soups and stew (guvech) were hearty tasty and filling. This place will continue to be on my short list when I'm in the neighborhood.

              691 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

              4 Replies
              1. re: wrayb
                Pan Feb 1, 2011 10:22 AM

                My girlfriend and I went once. I struggle to remember what we ordered, it was so tasteless. I do remember some baklava that was so dry, we didn't eat most of it, which is really unusual something for us. With a really great Eastern Mediterranean restaurant - Gazala Place - right nearby, I see no reason to ever go back.

                Gazala Place
                709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: Pan
                  foodperestroika Feb 1, 2011 03:57 PM

                  I completely agree. With all these positive reviews, I was starting to wonder if we're talking about the same place!!! We went there a few months ago and I can't remember everything we had, but I clearly remember that the food was mediocre and not worth a second visit. The room decor was only a notch above a deli, some of the mezes were just bad, and the moussaka wasn't much better. If you want the menu, it's available here: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                  1. re: foodperestroika
                    FoodDabbler Feb 1, 2011 04:15 PM

                    Since we're all being so agreeable, I'll agree too. I got take-out from them last summer (or early fall). Nothing was entirely inedible, but pretty much all the meze were mediocre to poor. Many had been clearly sitting around for a while. The best thing we had were some very tender chicken legs, but they only reached the heights of the palatable.

                    1. re: FoodDabbler
                      wrayb Feb 2, 2011 04:51 PM

                      I look forward to trying Gazala Place as suggested by Pan but I must admit I stay away from the dishes at Balkanika that intersect with the menu at Gazala Place. It is the soups and stews and booze that I've had and enjoyed. But I must admit that I didn't previous comment on a beef/eggplant augratin that was pretty boring from a cheese point of view.

                      Gazala Place
                      709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                      691 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

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