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The Full Manti (Anatolia Gyro Report) –long

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The Full Manti (Anatolia Gyro Report) –long

The Dairy Queen | Dec 6, 2003 11:03 AM

Four of us (Melanie Wong, Ruth Lafler, friend of TDQ) dashed down to Anatolia Gyro after Melanie called ahead Friday morning to ensure that they would have manti. Manti is not on the menu and they make it to order, so you do need to call ahead. We asked for 2 orders; they had 2 ½ orders ready…

Tucked in among souvenir shops near the Wharf, Anatolia Gyro is a humble restaurant with a half dozen tables. Clearly run and patronized by Turks, the obligatory blue glass “evil eye” hangs on the wall above the kitchen and protects the restaurant and its guests. Our gracious server was very attentive throughout.

True to Turkish custom, they immediately served us hot tea in tulip glasses, though they didn’t serve them with the two sugar cubes on the side the way I always remembered. That’s okay, there was table sugar if you wanted to sweeten it with the teensy spoon.

Here’s what we ordered:
-Ezme (mashed peeled tomatoes, green onion, walnuts, parsley, red pepper sauce, olive oil, and lemon juice) with homemade (flat) bread. More like a weak salsa than the spicier tomato and roasted red bell pepper mixture I was seeking, this dish was my only major disappointment. The red bell pepper would have given it some heft and smoothness. It also wasn’t very spicy, so industrious Melanie hopped up and asked our server if they could make it spicier. He brought us a dish of homemade pepper sauce, in which Ruth detected a bit of cucumber. We think. (We were unsuccessful in confirming what was in it--family secret or communication barrier.) We loved the pepper sauce on its own and it did improve the ezme when we added it. Also, we didn’t detect any walnuts, which Ruth pointed out would have added richness. Friend of TDQ noted that it would be more satisfying when tomatoes are at their best in summer.

Also, the bread, which is flat and about ¾ inch thick, is wonderfully fluffy on the inside. She baked another batch while we were there and it is worth waiting to get hot out of the oven. In the meantime, they heated up and served us what seemed to be tortillas (I don’t think they were gozleme) so we didn’t have to go starchless.

-Manti (lamb dumplings in a butter and yogurt sauce.) The wrappers on the manti were tender and silky, in contrast with the lamb inside, which was firm. It wasn’t overwhelmingly seasoned or spicy, though the manti were presented alarmingly swimming in butter. Turns out, we all spooned more of that nice sauce onto our plates because it just slides right off the silky wrappers. Manti seems to me to be to be the perfect Turkish comfort food.

-Anatolian Iskender (baked homemade bread cubes with yogurt and tomato sauce topped with lamb gyros and melted butter.) This was very rich and warm and a perfect use of the wonderful homemade bread. Lovely way to take the chill out of a rainy San Francisco day.

-Lahmacun (meat pizza: dough with ground beef, tomatoes, parsley, paprika and black pepper.) You don’t know the true meaning of “thin crust” pizza until you’ve have the lahmacun at Anatolia Gyro. Crust so thin that even Paris Hilton would be envious, it was crisp without being brittle. The ground beef and tomato mixture was spread equally as thin: Melanie noted that the meat was used “almost as a condiment” in this dish. We all scooped up the sliced onions they served on the side and sprinkled with __________ (what spice? I’ve forgotten. Melanie, Ruth help me out here, please!) and it was amazing, the warm pizza with the crisp onions.

-Baklava Unfortunately, we don’t think the baklava was fresh. I thought it was a little soggy, though I was glad that it wasn’t as saturated in honey as most.

-Sutlac (oven baked rice pudding.) Served cold, the rice pudding was smooth and silky and refreshing. Not too sweet. Nice way to end a spicy meal.

-Turkish coffee. Melanie ordered it and I didn’t try it, but I do love Turkish coffee. She seemed to be enjoying it and, yes, they did sweeten it as part of the boiling, rather than after the fact.

- Yogurt drink (ayran?) Nice, but, goodness, you only need about half of what they serve for one person.

The bill for all of this for four people, including tax and tip, was $60.

Anatolia Gyro
2731 Taylor Street (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Btw Jefferson and Beach
415.771.2877
10am-10pm 7 days a week

Melanie, Ruth, please chime in and fill in what I left out or correct me where I'm wrong!

~TDQ

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