This new, no-frills shop on Seventh and Southern avenues makes a good, solid torta. The rolls are soft and a little sweet. Their fillings are hearty but not so brawny that they dwarf the bread. There are nine tortas on the menu: eight with meat, one perfunctory vegetarian option.
All elements stacked toward softness, this is a nice torta. A better option, the deep fried turkey torta, works by warping the softness quotient. Shreds and bits of turkey — dark red, fry-brown, or lobster-pink — have chew and crisp depending on how exactly, if at all, skin clings to morsels. The turkey is succulent, with that deep, homey flavor that good turkey has. Each bite is a little different. A decent piquant salsa gooses the bird.
This torta shop, you will see on its big yellow menu, has far more than Mexican-style sandwiches. Burros, enchiladas, quesadillas, a healthy range of desserts, and a few interesting starters highlight.
Also: tacos. (The four taco meats are also available as tortas.)
Cochinita pibil wasn’t as incendiary as advertised, but it was a respectable version. The pork was tender, smoky, and congenially heaped onto a soft double corn tortilla. Deshebrada rajas, green chile beef, was even more generously portioned, spooned out in an oblong line so long it ran clean off the taco. It isn’t as deliciously assertive as the cochinita, but may be more cooked to the point that its proteins are just collapsing.
There are a few items on the menu at Tortas Manny that you don’t see at many places. One is Chilindrinas, a street food associated with Juarez, a Mexican town just south over the border from El Paso, Texas. This massive “snack” is like a flatbread but with a sheet of fried pork skin for the base, a cold topping of mostly avocados, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and a disproportionate ratio of toppings to crust, all zagged with chile sauce and sluiced with a mayo-like crema. It’s alright. Not quite worth the stomach real estate.
The tacos and tortas, however, are. And that portends well for the rest of the menu. If you’re cruising south Phoenix and looking for a torta or similarly comforting meal, check out Tortas Manny.
Tortas Manny. 845 West Southern Avenue; 602-603-9264.
Daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.