Actually Pretty Awesome: Manti Dumplings at Troya Fillmore

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The manti, in their sauce. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Avid traveler that she is, local critic Patricia Unterman recently took a trip to Turkey, and when she came back she says she was "homesick" for Turkish food. She found, and subsequently turned us onto, the food at the new Troya Fillmore, specifically a few of the dishes prepared by "a little Turkish woman in a head scarf and apron in the partially open kitchen at the back, who looked like the women who cooked for [her] in their homes in small villages near Antakya and Gazientep." One of those dishes, manti, which are a Turkish version of ravioli in a creamy yogurt sauce, is a sure standout for us, and unlike anything we've ever tasted.

The small, round, marble-sized dumplings are stuffed with ground beef and made with a very thin pasta. They're cooked and served in a sauce of warm yogurt and tahini, drizzled with slightly spicy red pepper oil, and dusted with some paprika and sumac. The flavors are just the right mix of rich and bright, the pepper oil cutting through the yogurt, and enhancing the well seasoned, oniony beef filling. And these little things go down really easily, even after the hefty meal we had of mezze and flatbreads before this dish arrived. (Patty U. was also quick to compliment the mezze from western chef Philip Busacco, but it was the "mama's dishes," like the manti, and the beef-topped lahmacun flatbread that kind of steal the show).

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
Flaming Sea Bass Roll at Elephant Sushi
Black Risotto With Uni and Egg at Prospect
Seared Salmon and Mussel Mashed Potatoes at Bisou
The Meatloaf at Jamber
Carrots at Commonwealth
Turducken at Honor Bar
Beggar's Chicken at Betelnut
Lobster Bread Pudding and Smoked Cod at Maverick
Sand Dabs at Bar Jules
Green Farro-Sausage Risotto at RN74
Vegan Charctuerie at Gather
Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent
Beef Tongue at Namu Gaji
Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa
Green Garlic Bread at State Bird Provisions
A Dinner of Small Plates and the Duck Confit Salad at Frances
Duck Fat Chex Mix at Truck Stop Café
The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
The Branzino and the Cucumber and Scallops at AQ
Dinner at Local Mission Eatery
Suckling Pig Sandwich at Sweet Woodruff
Crudités at Saison
The Roasted Broccoli Sandwich at Split Pea Seduction
George Mendes’s Partridge in a Pear Tree
The Buffalo Burger at Double Decker
A Preview of Dishes at Haven
Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tony’s Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
The Date Night at Sneaky's BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare