BG Eats: Behar’s Cafe serves impressive and rustic home-style food

At Behar Cafe on Old Morgtown Road, specialities include home-cooked Bosnian food like Cevapi, a dish of small beef sausages and home-made Bosnian bread with onions and sour cream, and Chicken Schnitzel, chicken breast covered in a tangy sauce with mushrooms, served with garlic mashed potatoes and thick white bread to mop up the sauce. The cafe offers a full menu and includes a store stocked with Eastern European candies, foods, and spices.

John Greer

For the intrepid culinary enthusiast, the land beyond the railroad tracks leading away from campus contains a bevy of interesting ethnic restaurants. Here you can find Hispanic markets mingling with European cafes and Asian grocery stores. Few maintain any sort of online presence, which can make the search both more challenging and rewarding. 

One such example is the outwardly inconspicuous Behar Cafe. Labeled as an espresso bar, it also acts as a grocery for processed European foodstuffs and a home of Bosnian cuisine. The interior is more inviting than the exterior suggests, with some homely paintings adorning the walls and a multitude of cozy tables and booths. Those who want to eat at the cafe would do well to pick up one of the menus resting on the left counter, as you are just expected to order at the central bar. 

After ordering a cappuccino, you can watch it being made directly behind the counter in a small, aged espresso machine.  It came with a dollop of aerosol-whipped cream that quickly disintegrated under the warmth of the milky brew. The espresso was not of the highest quality, but the drink was rich and slightly sweet (not to mention cheap). 

As you wait for your food, explore the grocery shelves at the front of the cafe. One can procure pretty common European favorites like Kinder Bueno bars alongside packages of Turkish coffee and huge jars of roasted red peppers, among many others. 

Cevapi, a dish of beef sausages and Bosnian flatbread, arrived in the shape of a rustic, super-sized sandwich. The flatbread took up the entire space of a large plate. Within it contained only an excess of warm and savory sausages. The only additional ingredients were a small cup of sour cream and coarsely diced onions served on the side. The dish was almost too simplistic, but the warm sponginess of the flatbread and the astringent tang of the toppings became a compelling foil for the heaviness of the sausage. 

Fair warning— the resemblance to a sandwich was illusory. This could not be eaten in the same manner. Managing the tendency of the sausages to escape from the flatbread required the sturdy work of a fork and knife. 

The popular European dish schnitzel was also available. It consisted of large morsels of chicken topped with grilled mushrooms and drowned in a rich, savory sauce. A healthy scoop of mashed potatoes were served alongside, as were a few thick slices of white bread. The textured, garlicky potatoes were the most notable component here. The chicken was well cooked and the dish was quite comforting. The lack of flavor and spice in the sauce, however, kept it from reaching greater heights.   

The fairly cheap prices at Behar Cafe become especially impressive in light of the considerable portions. This is certainly rustic, home-style food. It may not be the most flavorful or exciting, but it makes for a fascinating option worth exploring.