>> Dubrovnik Restaurant | Eat the World NYC

08 January 2020

Dubrovnik Restaurant


While Bosnian cafes populate most of the city's boroughs and fancy Serbian dining is well known in the East Village and more rustic in New Jersey, folks searching for Croatian fare have been limited to the restaurants that grew from sports clubs in Astoria. Even there, the focus was on classic Istrian fare, which shares much in common with their coastal neighbors to the north in Slovenia and Italy.

It takes a visit to New Rochelle in Westchester County to find Dubrovnik Restaurant, a place focused quite a lot on the seafood-heavy diets along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. The "About Us" section of the restaurant's website aptly starts with "We miss Croatia," going on to talk about mothers grilling freshly caught fish and the smells from the sea.

The full prices are listed here, but do be aware that a weekday happy hour from 15:00 to 18:00 offers each and every appetizer at half price, a steal for the quality of food arriving. Before diving into the seafood realms, the Dalmatian platter ($14, above) offers a plate of prosciutto and smoked beef with a couple cheeses, olives, and Croatian pickles.

This is far from a normal plate of dried meats though, the smoked beef is especially satisfying, a thick cut perfect for placing on a slice of bread from the basket that will arrive with any order.

The plate above combined two separate orders, in the back were five large grilled jumbo shrimp ($16), with the grilled octopus ($19) in front. Both came with a nice char and the smoky flavors that you want from the grill, especially when combined with such high-grade seafood.

The shrimp are placed on a bed of savory cream sauce and accompanied by a few grilled vegetables to make sure you get a well-balanced meal. The octopus is thick and fatty and almost melts away in your mouth, barely seasoned with a bit of Croatian olive oil and herbs because it needs so little.

Another dish using the country's olive oil and fresh octopus, and a wonderful surprise was none's style octopus salad ($15, above) which was reminiscent of so many German-style potato salads eaten over the years. The soft potatoes are tart with lemon juice and wine vinegar, the mix also includes capers and onions. Grandma would be proud.

All of these appetizers were filling and deeply satisfying, and probably should have signaled the end of the meal for the two people eating it, but by this time the restaurant had filled up almost completely with hungry Croatians who somehow seemed to be enjoying dinner even more. The meal obviously had to continue.

After a bit of a rest, the pasta section of the menu was flipped to (on their iPad), and an order of teletina na lovaćki ($25, above), a type of veal ragu served with house-made gnocchi. At first it did not appear as much, but the bowl seemed bottomless and made already stuffed stomachs approach their critical points.

Tender pieces of veal in the savory ragu were just right as a counterpoint to all the light and fresh seafood, while the soft and porous gnocchi was the perfect combination to pull all these flavors inside.

It was with great luck that this meal had already taken place at the bar, as it would have required superhuman strength to pull these bloated bodies up to the high chairs from the dining room. The full bar here of course has a nice selection of Croatian wines and Karlovačko beer ($9, above), but also some spirits that can make your crawl home a little easier.

Desserts like palacinke, Croatian-style crêpes filled with ricotta and covered in the sweetness of your choice, can be ordered, but the end of this meal required a glass of Maraska pelinkovac ($9, below). This bitter liqueur is made with wormwood and many other herbs, has a sweet and bitter finish, and did the heroic work of digestion that was necessary.

As the restaurant owners desire, the evening from start to finish was a superb "portal to Croatia."

Dubrovnik Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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