The commonly used hyperbole, "the greatest thing since sliced bread," is often used to note marked achievement. Ironically, from a culinary standpoint, sliced bread is among the worst inventions forced on the world of food. But bread, which is among the oldest forms of sustenance, deserves more respect than American supermarket shelves give it. And at places like Bosnia Express, bread gets that respect.
BO-EX, as its better known, is a sort of "insiders'" destination for the non-Bosnian among us. According to its Facebook page, a link to which you'll find if you scan the menu's QR code, BO-EX is "a nightclub/neighborhood bar/grocery store/lunch spot." To that, I'd add cultural gathering place, soccer-watching destination and bakery.
But even that hodge-podge description fails to evoke the hotel lobby/cafe/bar/living room feel of the dark wood and faux foliage, red tablecloths and black chairs, the leather couches and coffeetable, the shiny flat screen TVs and tiny, open kitchen. It feels like the kind of semi-permanent place that's a familiar home away from home, where you're welcome to stay just long enough for a sandwich or all day, taking in a soccer game, a few beers and then a weekend dance party.
Gyros ($5.50) are the BO-EX house specialty, but it's not what you may be used to with taco-shaped flatbread and paper-thin gyro meat. Rather, BO-EX plays to its strengths--homemade bread--creating a gyro sandwich.
The bread, which is the size of a salad plate, is sliced in half. A smear of tzatziki primes the bottom slice, which still bears the parallel rack marks of the morning's baking session. Lettuce and tomato follow. Thick, mildly spicy slabs of beef gyro meat bulk up the midsection and then the whole thing is sliced from top to bottom. Gyros aren't culinary genius, but as gyros go, BO-EX's is easily among the upper crust in town.
Owner Dusanka Kurtagic said her husband Ermin rises early every morning to bake the bread that will become the delicate, puffed-up pita look-a-likes destined for tzatziki and gyro meat; the flaky, hard-crusted ciabatta that holds up against the ambitious stuffing of a prosciutto-mozzarella-ham panini sandwich; and the sturdy tubes of stark-white baguette that play host to simple cold cuts of roast beef and ham. Of those, only the gyro bread is a traditional Bosnian recipe, said Dusanka.
After four years running the market and bar, the Kurtagics added food to the menu less than a year ago. As BO-EX racks up its fifth year in business, the food is gaining attention as the greatest thing since sliced bread.