Well, we finally got around to trying the place I coyly suggested we might get to last month. My loving wife and daughter decided that a good place for a birthday dinner (39! But my sister called and told me that to her I am always 12.) would be Boston's only Albanian restaurant, Cafe Apollonia at (yes) 146 Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, beyond even Jamaica Pond.
Our best expectations were confirmed, and we are delighted to say that the Hysi family operates a wonderful little place. Francesco, they have byrek! The menu looks traditional, but chef Marlon Hysi makes them with the innovation you might expect of a Cordon Bleu graduate, which he is. Ivana's Trofte Tave was baked in wine and tomatoes over carmelised onions, Azra's Qebaptore were excellent čevapi, but served over a bed of seared eggplant and peppers, with a thick yoghurt sauce and rosemary mixed in with the meat. I would describe the lamb stew with polenta that I had, but then you would ask me for a bite and I would have to disappoint you. The wine list includes Frankovka from Croatia (good stuff) and also Birra Tirana from Albania (which we didn't try).
The place was not at all crowded, maybe not surprising for a Monday. But they are far out of the center of the city and worth knowing about. We will certainly pay them a visit again!