Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Fabulous Lunch at Vlora

The last 24 hours have been filled with some pretty wonderful eating.  After my dinner last night at The Reagle Beagle, I had lunch today at Vlora on Boylston Street near the Copley T stop.  I've been there a few times for lunch now, and every time has been great.  The food is consistently good and I can always find something interesting to drink from the wine list.  I love the lightness of the  ingredients and the way they are flavored so brightly, very simply plated, and lovingly prepared.  The wine list has some expected choices, but being the wine geek that I am, I often opt for some of the more unusual selections from Greece or Hungary for example.  A standout from a past lunch was an inexpensive Moscofilero from Greece with floral "grapey" aromas and a light clean finish.  It was brilliant with the food.  Today's "Gentil" by Hugel that I had by the glass is an example of an oldie, but a goodie also to be found there.

I first learned about Vlora when the owner and his wife happened into my place of work one night for dinner a year or so ago.  Aldo and his wife, Cindy were celebrating their anniversary, if I remember correctly.  We struck up a conversation over the course of the evening and really hit it off.  They are both really nice people, so naturally I wanted to check their place out.  I stopped by for lunch a couple of weeks later, and ever since then I have been a devoted fan of Vlora.

Today, I had the "fork-tender" octopus which lives up to expectations.  I'd been hearing so much about it from coworkers that had also eaten there, that I had to try it myself.  Not only does it have a wonderful texture, but it's also grilled so you get a little bit of smokiness from the char.  Paired with the cucumber and tomatoes, it's a lovely light first course. I also had the Albanian Tava which was also a first for me.  It's a gratin√©ed casserole of vegetables with bechamel and cheese.  It was rich, but not too filling.  I found the portion size to be perfect.  It was just enough to fill me up along with the octopus.  My friend, Peter, also had the octopus which he loved and a vegetarian version of Moussaka plated with warm tzatziki sauce.  Everything was a hit.

Among other dishes I've had in the past that I would recommend are the Watermelon and Feta "Tidbit," The trio of pies (yogurt, feta, and, tomato/onion), Pasta di Aldo with peppers and zucchini, the pan-seared fillet of Basa, and the Psaropita (pastry-wrapped haddock).  If you want something a little more basic, you can always get a burger, gyros sandwiches, and Caesar or Greek salads on the lunch menu as well.  We didn't have dessert today, but the Kasata, a frozen custard with almonds is also a favorite of mine from past lunches.

One of these days I'll get back to Vlora for dinner, but for now, it's a wonderful inexpensive option for lunch.  The food is consistent and never too filling for a midday meal.  The wine list is top notch with plenty of wine geek options and most importantly is in keeping with the bright flavors of the food.  Check it out next time you're in the Back Bay for the afternoon.  You're sure to get a good meal.

1 comment:

  1. I had the trio of pies when I ate there and they were excellent. Also sampled the watermelon salad. Superb!