>> Nana's Kitchen | Eat the World NYC

16 October 2019

Nana's Kitchen

ALBANIA 🇦🇱

On the street in front of Nana's Kitchen, just off Morris Park Avenue, you can barely notice some color that had long ago been painted right on the asphalt. It is so faded that the intention does not come to you immediately, but the three bands of red, white, and green that used to be bright and crisp were actually the Italian flag.

Back when these colors were laid, the space here was a bagel shop and across the street was a busy Italian cafe. This specific block of Hone Avenue had been given the name Rocco Miano Way shortly after the death of the namesake Italian-American man who lived here and had a larger than life presence in Morris Park.


But as time passes, the character of neighborhoods shift. As has happened in Belmont's "Little Italy," Morris Park has also seen quite an influx of Albanians over the years. Across the street from each other right at the point of that faded Italian flag are now a popular Albanian sports bar and Nana's Kitchen, which moved in about six years back.

Come at anytime during the morning, afternoon, and evening, and you will find its tables filled my mostly Balkan men. You are likely to be greeted in Albanian if you could pass as one, for there are not many others showing up here and speaking different languages. For this reason, it is easy to skip the portions of the menu that do not focus on Albanian specialties, backed up by the fact that plates of qebapa are arriving at almost every table.


This meal started with a small bowl of fasul ($4, above), which they simply describe as "bean soup" on the menu. You sometimes see this also called grosh, but here the hearty white bean stew feels very homemade and rustic, as if nana herself brought it out to you. Certainly there are onions and tomatoes and olive oil used but also chopped herbs and chili.

Do not pass up a nice byrek, available here in either cheese, meat, or spinach varieties. The cheese byrek ($5) below had a very thin exterior that got crisp in the oven but was otherwise very soft and savory. Five dollars does not often fill you up these days, but if you came in for nothing else, hunger would probably be avoided for quite a few hours. Grab a cup of yogurt for $2 to go with it if you enjoy dunking your byrek in something creamy and slightly sour.


Those aforementioned plates of meat are available focusing on one meat or as a combination of three. Upgrade to the shop salad for $1 extra, a fresh mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions rather than lettuce. Most of the other tables had made this move as well.

The combination ($13, below) comes with five skinless sausages known as qebapa, a ground beef patty called qofte, and suxhuk, a dried and spicy sausage full of red pepper. They throw a slice of feta cheese in there that combines nicely with not only the meats but the shop salad, and of course no Albanian meal is complete without a basket of their freshly baked bread.


Stuffed peppers ($11, below) come full of ground beef, but it is the sauce that really gives this dish its punch. That basket of bread will come in handy to mop every last delicious drop off the plate. The table had that awkward moment late in the meal where the kind server wanted to clear dishes, but with some of that orange-red delight still left, it had to be rescued.


If desired, wash it all down with a refreshing Albanian orange soda called Ivi ($3, below). This is not overly carbonated and is not too sweet, making it quite a good drink, helping to cut the grease from the meat.

Enjoy your stay in Morris Park! Both sides of the Adriatic are both alive and well.


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Nana's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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