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Troya -- SO much better than I remembered

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Joan Kureczka Jun 20, 2010 10:46 AM

Looking for a place to meet up with out of town friends for dinner before Andy Irvine concert at the Plough and Stars last night, I suggested Troya. I'd been there once before, about 6 months after they first opened and while I remember having a pleasant enough experience, I'd not been back. After this trip, however, I'll definitely be making it a regular stop when I'm on that side of SF.

Three of us shared a couple rounds of mezze as well as an order of the lamb beyti, which was definitely one of the better renditions of that dish, which is adana style lamb kabob wrapped in lavash and served with a tomato yogurt sauce. We also quite enjoyed a special mezze of beef stuffed eggplant, and lovely fresh grilled sardine filets on a bit of salad greens. The thick yogurt dip with carrots was also very good, as a slightly different variation on the usual turkish yogurt dip.

But the truly outstanding mezze -- so good in the first order, we had to have a second -- was an unusual take on lamb stuffed grape leaves. Unlike every version I've had in the past, these four dolmas contained no rice or ground meat. Instead they were stuffed with long cooked, shredded lamb (like a lamb version of pulled pork) seasoned with currants, pinenuts and (I think) allspice. The stuffed grape leaves were then lightly grilled, which added a slight smoky flavor, and then drizzled with a small amount of tahini sauce. Fabulous.

The only thing we ordered that was just so-so was the borek -- in this case two sizable, fat triangles filled with spinach, pine nuts and feta. A bit dry, I've had better.

Monday through Thursday, they are offering a mezze "happy hour" from 5-7 where all mezze are $5, along with certain of their wines. The wine by the glass selections were servicable for fairly ordinary; the bottle list was longer and more interesting.

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Troya
349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: Joan Kureczka Jun 20, 2010 11:31 AM

    Troya took a big step up after they hired Randy Gannaway as chef.

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    Troya
    349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
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      saffrongold RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 20, 2010 12:11 PM

      Interesting that Troya came up on the boards. I was just comparing it to Tuba, where I dined on Friday night, and was underwhelmed, esp. with one dish I've tried at both places, the Manti dumplings. Service and decor is nice, but the food was meh. Troya is a better choice.

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      Troya
      349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

    2. susancinsf RE: Joan Kureczka Jun 20, 2010 01:03 PM

      I thought the dolmas at Troya were as good or better than any I've ever had.

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      Troya
      349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

      1. Cynsa RE: Joan Kureczka Mar 25, 2011 03:50 AM

        the borek was good tonight; not dry, plump with the spinach pine nut filling. we also enjoyed the manti, the Monterey Bay sardines, the grilled halumi, a skewer of lamb kabob cooked perfectly medium-rare and the almond pudding for dessert. food and service: delightful

        1. shellshock24 RE: Joan Kureczka Mar 25, 2011 10:47 AM

          I definitely agree. We recently went to Troya with a large group and did a pre-fixe menu that came out to $25/person. Every dish was flavorful and tasty and there were a LOT of dishes. The service was excellent and we were all very happy when we saw the bill. I feel like for a group dinner Troya is one of those SF "best kept secrets" restaurants.

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          Troya
          349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

          2 Replies
          1. re: shellshock24
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            nsheth RE: shellshock24 Mar 25, 2011 07:35 PM

            Yup, that prix-fixe deal was fantastic. More food than any single person could (well, should) eat. You get a great representation of the entire menu, I'd heartily recommend it for any group outing.

            1. re: shellshock24
              Pei RE: shellshock24 Mar 25, 2011 11:27 PM

              Thanks for this fantastic idea. I went for lunch recently and loved all the mezes. My favorite was the thick yogurt served with pita, but food was uniformly tasty, beautifully prepared, and well-spiced. Service was friendly, the meal was well-paced, and I hope they continue to do well

            2. ChowFun_derek RE: Joan Kureczka Mar 26, 2011 10:51 AM

              I also loved the stuffed grapeleaves, as well as lamb kabob...The Mousakka is "Greek" style and also very good. nice place, nice people...and they are open for lunch!

              1. w
                whiner RE: Joan Kureczka Mar 26, 2011 04:42 PM

                FWIW: Count me as a real fan of Troya. One of my very favorite more reasonably priced restaurants in SF. Not so close to where I live so I don't eat there too much, but when I'm in the neighborhood...

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                Troya
                349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                1. cosmogrrl RE: Joan Kureczka Mar 27, 2011 02:05 PM

                  I simply swoon for their manti and their Adana kebap. I enjoy their meze as well. I also enjoy having an Efes beer with my food. It's not a great beer but it is ubiquitous in Turkey, so when I do have it I'm transported back to Turkey with it's warm breeze, the smell of the water, etc.

                  I go here often and always enjoy it

                  1. s
                    sfdee RE: Joan Kureczka Apr 4, 2011 11:32 AM

                    I'll have to check out the prix fixe deal. I hosted my 60th birthday dinner there last year and the prices were extremely reasonaable and everyone loved it. We had tons of appetizers - which are the best things there - to share.

                    1. pointybird RE: Joan Kureczka Apr 4, 2011 06:08 PM

                      I had a truly wonderful meal there recently with my husband and five year old daughter. We started out with hummus and mujamara, which I gather is walnut and red pepper dip? It was fantastic, piquant and full-flavored but not one bit spicy, even our daughter liked it. And the nice waitress brought out more pita triangles when she noticed us running low. Warm. Such a nice touch. Why don't more restaurants offer warm bread? After that, my husband had the chicken kabob wrap, daughter had the rice pilaf, I got the falafel wrap. I wished I'd ordered the chicken instead, it was beautifully cooked and tasty. The pilaf was full of plump, soft rice kernels. My falafel just wasn't quite the thing.

                      The best was yet to come. Zucchini cakes with homemade yogurt sauce were fluffy, crisp on the outside, tender inside, and tasted brightly of dill. We finished with a nightingale's nest baklava: oh my GOD. This was the best baklava I'd ever had in my life, perfectly tender and fresh flakes enclosing a nut-and-honey filling that was so savory and sweet that we fought over every last morsel. On the side was a little scoop of ice cream, the perfect cold creaminess to offset the crisp baklava. Apparently they make this dessert in-house...I could order it every day.

                      My husband had a powerful, thick Turkish coffee and I had Turkish tea, both swell. I don't often get the chance to go out to lunch with my family on a weekday, and eating such a delightful meal with such friendly and thoughtful service was just divine. I'll be back, Troya.

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                      Troya
                      349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pointybird
                        Cynsa RE: pointybird Apr 4, 2011 06:51 PM

                        We also enjoyed the Nightingale's Nest Baklava - plate-lickin' goodness! Although the DH said we didn't need the sweet ending.... he polished off his portion without hesitation. We returned on Saturday April 2nd to celebrate a friend's birthday; starting with the delicious Mediterranean spreads of hummus, haydari and muhamara, Turkish flatbread, Zucchini Cakes, Grilled Halloumi, Manti, and Lamb Dolma. The grapeleaf on the dolma was so tough and stringy, the table knife could barely saw through it - our only disappointment. Service was attentive and gracious.

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