Thirtysomething owner Batur Durmay speaks fluent English and guides diners through his extensive list of dishes. Durmay’s family funded painstaking research in Ottoman archives to reproduce former sultans’ fare. The menu suggests that the empire’s earlier sultans loved strong, heavy food—they needed sustenance as they led their troops in battle. Hence the has pacasi tiritli: lamb’s trotter, soft, garlicky comfort food on toast, loved by locals who take it home in bagfuls. Or the fodula, a beefy stew in puffed bread laced sharply with sage. But later epicurean sultans added more delicate dishes to their repertoire, such as stuffed melon dolma, minced lamb with rice and pignoli atop a melting slice of sweet melon.