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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Peachy Picks Byblos Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

The superlative Grilled Shish Taouk of Byblos

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 If you've been reading Peachy's Picks from Boston to Washington and of course centered on Manhattan, you know we often visit the types of cuisine we love best and are the most familiar.  We could make a "golf course" of 36 holes of our favorite Italian spots easily, and Peachy is not even Italian.  However, once in a blue moon, we find a cuisine that is truly spectacular that we didn't know we liked yet, and the sublime Lebanese excellence at Byblos should absolutely go to the top of your dinner priority list!  Owners Sonia and Sabeh Kachouch are just as warm and welcoming as their culinary endeavors, and we hope to return to Byblos again and again.  Yes, we are that impressed.
Byblos was first featured in Terrific Takeout:
Their initial Takeout review was one of the best by anyone in 2014 that was a newcomer to our culinary coverage, and their formal review for Peachy's Picks only confirmed our initial feeling.  Our formal review was even better because our panelist for this review grew up in a culture eating this type of cuisine, and he said it was just as good as homemade.  That genuine authentic opinion is even better than Peachy's...buckle up for the Byblos hit parade!  And remember, Mediterranean cuisine is healthy which is a huge plus.
We were greeted with fresh vegetables, above, and you know Peachy prefers a serious, robust, rich full-bodied red.  They hit the nail on the head and suggested this winner:
The Chateau Kara Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 proved to be the ideal companion for the exotic delicacies that awaited us.  As you know, Peachy bleeds maroon and gold and was delighted to see this brand was established by the Jesuits in 1857.  (Click here to see what the Jesuits started in 1863).  Clearly, Sonia and Sabeh did their homework!  We loved this wine.

Starting off with the Fattoush, a Byblos Special, is a total must.

 We were especially impressed with the Sumac spice seasoning, which kicks this baby up a notch!  It was just as good as it was during the takeout, and often we reorder certain items to check for consistency.  Everything we tried a second time was just as good if not better at Byblos.  This specialty salad topped with toasted pita was fresh and delicious and perfectly dressed. 
 If you have not had Kibbee Naye Tartare, you are in for a spectacular treat.  

Three times ground beef is so delicious!!!  Raw kibee mixed with wheat and their special seasoning is a cold appetizer you cannot leave without trying.  Our panelist suggested we dip it in olive oil which made it even better!  Peachy dreamed about this the night after she ate it.  That only happens after the best reviews...
 The hot pita bread will make you like flatbread if you are not already a fan!  You will dip it happily in every appetizer.
 When you see the appetizers, your brain will say: "One of everything please!"
 And your stomach will say: "I will do my best!"
Next under Cold Appetizers, we tried the super creamy Garlic Labne with walnuts:

 The thick creamy cheese is eons away from anything you'd see in an ordinary venue, and must be ordered from the Gods.  The flare of garlic was so enticing and the ideal touch.  Everything at Byblos is made fresh every day!
You're going to really add to your culinary vocabulary at your Byblos visit.  We next tried the Baba Gannouj: (Peachy says it Baba Ga-noosh) Charcoal Grilled Eggplant, Tahini. Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Garlic served as dip.  And, this version was especially attractive and also fun with the pomegranate gracing the top! Beautiful.
We did not visit in the dead of winter, but if you do you ought to try some of their hot appetizers as well.
 Verifying that Byblos is just as fantastic as similar foods served at home growing up, our panelist enjoyed Baked Kibbee- a double delight served with grape leaves stuffed with rice and lamb.  The presentation of everything was attractive and neat.
 Though we absolutely loved the fish on our previous visit, we opted to try the Grilled Shish Taouk this time for something different.  The marinated chicken was moist and flavorful, enhanced by Byblos's own special seasoning, and rice and vegetables added balance to the meal.  We'd definitely try this again!  Although we ate quite a lot we did not feel heavy and awful like you can after some meals because everything was so fresh and healthy.
 The desserts are terribly inviting, and above please meet the wonderfully refreshing Mouhalabieh-which is Rosewater Custard Milk Pudding, and below the Baklava.

Peachy Picks Byblos!
Byblos is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

Sonia, Peachy and Saba
Make your way to 80 Madison!

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