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Photography by Kate Munsch
The humble T-rav ain’t so humble in the hands of skilled chefs. Taking the time to make both the pasta and the filling in-house yields tender, beefy pockets that make the competition look truly stiff.
Lombardo’s claim to fame is a superior T-rav (pictured at left) that takes an irregular, half-moon shape, with a ground beef, cheese, and spinach filling that has a real texture—unlike the ubiquitous smooth paste you find elsewhere. With a fresh, gently fried exterior, it’s surely the most tender variety in town. Multiple locations, 314-429-5151, lombardosrestaurants.com.
The compact iteration at Charlie Gitto’s doesn’t include that crusty “frame” of dough. Instead, little pockets of meaty intensity are stuffed with a blend of beef, chicken, pork, and spinach, then served with a particularly rich pomodoro sauce. Multiple locations, 314-772-8898, charliegittos.com.
The overstuffed T-ravs are lightly fried, bringing out the flavor of the fresh, house-made pasta. The filling of slow-braised beef and pork, spinach, carrots, Parmesan cheese, and spices is unique and hearty. 3600 Watson, 314-352-7706, trattoriamarcella.com.
The ever-changing lineup of fillings here is so tasty, dunking the T-ravs in marinara would only gild the lily. Typical fillings—which change every day or two—include house-made sausage, roasted red pepper, spinach and veal, eggplant, smoked chicken, and blue cheese. 8000 Carondelet, 314-932-5733, madtomatostl.com.
Mangia’s pasta is made nearby, at the affiliated Midwest Pasta Co., and the ravioli are filled at the restaurant. This version is delicately fried for a fresh, pliant texture, served with three sauces in the colors of the Italian flag: spicy red arrabbiata, white garlic aioli, and green pesto. 3145 S. Grand, 314-664-8585, dineatmangia.net.