>> Çka ka Qëllu | Eat the World NYC

02 August 2018

Çka ka Qëllu


It has all been leading to this. First came Tradita, a brick oven pizza joint a bit more than 30 minutes walk north into Norwood. It's menu satisfied the pizza cravings of an obsessed city while slipping in some traditional Albanian and Kosovar items. But Çka ka Qëllu was always the dream, a full modern restaurant highlighting everything about this proud cuisine. The name is an offer and a desire at the same time, inspired by the feeling that giving your last piece of bread is much more honorable than eating it yourself.

But do not be afraid, the offerings here speak of bounty, a one-page menu lays these out easily. Besides the grilled meats that are most famous from the Balkans, another focus here are dishes called tavë, named for the clay vessel they are served in. A version of this dish with lamb and yogurt is considered the national dish of Albania, but tavë kosi is unfortunately not offered yet. There are six other kinds though, all of which made it hard to narrow down to one.

Muskujë viçi në tavë ($14.50, above) is the veal option, a thick section of pure meat in a savory reduction with peppers.

You will see many items used for centuries like this old tavë dish on the walls of the restaurant. Tools and decorations, cookware and clothing conjure up the past. Even the music follows the same beat.

It was hard to sample much while dining alone, but the pickled pepper appetizers seemed like a good bet not to be too filling. Spec n'turshi ($2.50, below) is pickled very sharply in the traditional Albanian way while spec me mazë n'turshi ($3.50, below back) is covered in creamy white cheese.

Both are crunchy and very enjoyable to eat, although it is hard to recommend against the cheesy version.

Return visits will of course knock off plates of grilled meats and more versions of the tavë. It is exciting to see a Balkan menu arrive with a more diverse array of the cuisine available there.

[UPDATE: The return visit happened faster than expected, with a group of 8 hungry people. Rating upgraded, photos below:]

Tradita salad $12

Fli $7

Tradita mixed grill platter x 2 $19 x 2

Pasul with smoked sausage $14

Kacamak $11

Sarma $13.50

Baklav and sheqer pare $5.50 each

Albanian coffee $4

Çka ka Qellu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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