>> Cakor Restaurant | Eat the World NYC

07 December 2017

Cakor Restaurant


On October 28th, two days before this meal, Albanians celebrated their independence day back home and here in Belmont where the streets were still filled with flags, waving red with a black double-headed eagle. Even on a normal week, this area which is still known as the Bronx's Little Italy is more of a Little Albania. The cafes are full of Albanian and other Balkan conversations, even if everyone is still sipping cappuccinos.

The menu at Cakor is a salute to both, with many Italian pastas and seafood dishes on one side, while Balkan specialties of grilled meats inhabit the other. This is normal though, as Albania at various times in history has been occupied by Greeks, Romans, and lastly the Ottoman Empire.

As with many people of Albanian heritage here in New York, the owner calls Montenegro home, and sometimes specials from this country can show up.

After the order was placed, we asked for bread as the waiter was walking away. His answer of "This is an Albanian restaurant" first made us think that bread was not an option because of his tone, but he was simply implying that there is no Albanian meal without bread.

A basket of what he called simit showed up shortly afterwards, but was much different from the Turkish simit I have had. This light and fluffy loaf was cut up into thin sections, which we almost devoured before the rest of the meal came.

Another unordered and unbilled plate arrived with roasted sweet red and spicy green peppers as well as some delicious goat cheese.

Knowing a lot of meat was coming, a shopska salad ($10, below) was ordered as a counterpoint. This cucumber and tomato salad was laced with a lot of onions and covered in more goat cheese and a few slivers of red pepper.

Over the course of my residency in New York City and trips to the Balkans, I have enjoyed many pljeskavicas, a large and well-spiced patty of meat served between two pieces of flatbread. They offer a different way to eat it here at Cakor, called stuffed pljeskavica ($17, below), which ditches the bread and fills the meat with gooey melted kajmak, a creamy dairy product not far from cheese.

The plate also has some weird accoutrement; two fried potato wedges, a block of cheese, some chopped onions, and some more red peppers, so feel free to experiment with your taste combinations.

What was most anticipated was the mixed grill ($26, below), a gathering of meats which all seem to be expertly marinated. The traditional cevape and qofte was supplemented with suxhuk sausage, liver, kidney, baby lamb, and chicken.

Word to the wise: go for the kidney before your tablemates eat too much, as it is outstanding. The whole platter is very satisfying though.

We ordered a round of cappuccinos to finish off the filling meal and provide some digestif. The place takes on a cafe feeling in the summer when tables and chairs are outside, but even in winter groups of men come here and hang out for a long time, enjoying the food and atmosphere.

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Cakor Restaurant Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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