As a metaphor for tenderness, "melts in your mouth" is an overworked cliché, but in the case of Troya's beef türlü, a stew with cauliflower, baby potatoes, pearl onions, and greens, it's almost literally true. The slow-cooked meat falls apart with the slightest pressure of the tongue. For textural contrast, the onions and cauliflower are left slightly al dente.

Much the same goes for Troya's spin on moussaka: Long, slow cooking makes the chunks of lamb even softer than the eggplant. The custardy béchamel that binds the two makes this a rich and filling dish despite a modest-looking portion. It is very delicately spiced, if at all, so the dominant flavors are lamb and eggplant.

Desserts, though not as exciting as some of the savory dishes, are solid. Künefe, a warm pastry of shredded phyllo stuffed with fromage blanc and flavored with grapefruit and pistachio, is a soothing end to a meal on a cold night. There's also a blood-orange tartlette, a buttery tart shell with a bit of grit from ground pine nuts filled with rich citrus curd.

Here’s to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.
Jen Siska
Here’s to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

Location Info

Map

Troya Restaurant

349 Clement
San Francisco, CA 94118

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Richmond (Inner)

Details

379-6000, www.troyasf.com. Open Monday-Thursday 5:00-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon-10:00 p.m., Sunday noon-9:00 p.m. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: difficult. Muni: 1, 2, 4, 38, 44. Noise level: quiet.

Soup of the day $5
Lamb dolmas $6
Mediterranean spreads $5.50 each, $14 all three
Manti $13.50
Beef türlü $15.50
Moussaka $15
Künefe $6

349 Clement (at Fifth Ave.)

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The wine list is exemplary. Wine director Brigitte Cullen has selected a wide range of styles and flavors both by the glass and bottle. The two Turkish wines on offer are inexpensive and good. There's also a small selection of draft and bottled beers, including Efes Pilsner from Turkey.

Troya is currently an undiscovered gem; on both my visits, the place was almost empty. This ought to change when word gets around, so you might be advised to make a reservation. Though the restaurant's Web site doesn't currently mention it, you can reserve through www.opentable.com.

Troya is making some of the best and most exciting food in town, and serving it in a particularly warm and friendly manner. Turcophiles, vegetarians, tightwads, and anyone who loves creative and delicious food should check it out while it's still easy to get a table.

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