Byblos Restaurant

  • 2.60
  • Food:-
  • Decor:-
  • Service:-

80 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016New York / Manhattan / Flatiron  [ Map ]

28th St & 29th St in Flatiron

(212) 687-0808  [ Website ]

Mediterranean / Middle Eastern / Seafood$30 - $49

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Featured Review

great mediterranean mezes

    • 3.5

Byblos is a Lebanese restaurant on Madison between 28th and 29th that's named after the ancient seaside town in Lebanon. For about 30 years the restaurant was located further east, until a nearby fire damaged the building, forcing the business to shutter for two years and eventually relocate.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

The old space was two floors, but the new space is a sprawling, roomy, single-floor expanse that feels so spacious it almost doesn't fit within the NYC dining-scape. Not only can you stretch your arms out without hitting the next table, but every Saturday belly dancers can freely bound around the floor uninhibited by tables and servers as live music plays for guests.

 

Byblos RestaurantByblos Restaurant

 

That bar, by the way, is home to tons of Lebanese wines that are difficult to find in the city. In fact about 70% of the wine list is Lebanese. Pretty cool, especially since the two glasses I had were both excellent (a Pinot Grigio and a blended red). From what I understand, Lebanese wines are only $6 a glass during their happy hour special. Here's a look at a glass of one of those wines, with some fresh pita bread:

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

The joint is owned by husband and wife Sabeh and Sonia Kachouh, who are both from Lebanon but met here in NYC. Sabeh, pictured below, is the chef, and Sonia runs the front of the house.

 

Byblos RestaurantByblos Restaurant

 

My wife and I were invited here for a press dinner, at which we were able to sample a bunch of mezes, an entree, and a pair of desserts. I recommend getting a large group together and trying out a bunch of mezes when you go here, because they really are the star of the show. See what I mean? Look at all of us foodie assholes scrambling to take photos of them:

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

This little platter here, with pepperoncini peppers, carrots, radish and pickled turnip, comes out before the start of the meal for fresh snacking:

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

Here's what we had for the press meal (with some additions I will discuss below):

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

The hummus was really smooth, and seasoned just right. In the center was a mound of nicely cooked chic peas.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

The baba ghannouj was creamy and delicate. I typically don't like eggplant too much, but this was flavorful, with olive oil and paprika on top:

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

Muhammara might be my new favorite meze. This was made with red pepper, chic peas and walnuts. It was spicy, earthy and filling. It had a bit more of a granular, paste-like texture than the other dips, so it was substantial as a meal in itself:

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

Zataar pies are really unique. Herbs like thyme and sumac jump out and attack your palate with zest. Sesame and olive oil round it out for a perfectly balanced flat bread appetizer. Awesome.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

The stuffed grape leaves here are better than other places where I've had them. Inside there are whole chic peas as well as rice and herbs. The leaves were very soft and tender, too, so these little bastards are easy to pop into your mouth over and over and over.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

This fattoush salad had a bright zing to it as well. It was topped with grilled chicken and toasted pita bread, but it was expertly dressed with just the right amount of citrus and herb dressing:

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

The tabbouleh salad was a bit too heavy on the lemon for my liking. It was super zesty and bright. I realize that my preferences aren't necessarily the same as others. I will say that all the ingredients within were fresh and flavorful, though.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

As we ventured on from the veggie mezes, our first meat course was kibbe with laban. This is ground lamb meatballs mixed with pine nuts and cracked wheat in a warm, tangy yogurt sauce. The texture was soft and the flavor was rich, just like an Italian meatball, but the sauce came with the zesty brightness typically associated with Mediterranean yogurt sauces.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

The mixed grill usually comes with three types of meat: lamb shish kebab, chicken shish taouk, and beef kafta kebab. We limited the selection to just the beef and lamb, however, so as not to waste any food (we were already pretty full going into this course). The kafta was really the star here. The minced beef was seasoned aggressively with spices like parsley and cumin, and it stayed juicy from the onion. The meat was super tender, too, and had a nice charred/grilled flavor on the outside.

 

Byblos RestaurantByblos Restaurant

 

The lamb still had a bit of chew to it. Perhaps it could have benefitted from some tenderizer, or maybe a higher heat for a shorter amount of time for a medium rare center. This dish came with sides of rice pilaf and peas. The rice was delicious and cooked just right, with little bits of pasta within. The peas were overcooked for my liking, but they had a good green flavor to them.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

Dessert was definitely interesting here. So often the desserts I encounter at press dinners and other restaurants are the same old bullshit: tira misu, creme brûlée, chocolate lava cake, and on and on. Boring. But here, we sampled some stuff that is common to Lebanese cuisine.

 

For example, check out this homemade "cheese cake," which is actually baked, semi-melty and semi-firm goat cheese with a bread crumb and ground pistachio crusted topping. The cheese had a similar texture and flavor to firm mozzarella, and the crust was reminiscent of the coating on a fried mozzarella stick, but sweeter due to the drizzled honey and rosewater that garnished the dish.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

Last but not least was baklava. This famous sweet, near-east treat may be well-worn territory for most Middle Eastern or Mediterranean joints, but for me it is still a refreshing change of pace from the regular dessert grind. This, too, was topped with rose water and honey. It was a bit sweet for most at the table, but I really enjoyed it. I've had some over-the-top sweet baklava in my day, and this did not fall into that category for me. The filo dough was really nice too: light, papery and delicious. I think everything was made from scratch.

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

Last was a bit of Lebanese coffee. Similar to Turkish coffee, this is served with a thick sludge of coffee at the bottom and steeped with cardamom. It's an acquired taste, for sure. I'm not sure I'm on board with it, but I did find the flavor interesting, not repulsive. HA!

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

That about does it for Byblos. If you're up for something different, fresh and healthy, then you should definitely get over here for the mezes at the very least. And sample some of the nice, hard-to-find Lebanese wines as well.

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Grazing at Byblos

    • 2.0
  • Meal Price: $30 - $49

Traditional Lebanese restaurants in New York: go! Well, what about Ilili? Listed occasionally as Lebanese, it calls itself "Middle Eastern" and offers lobster hummus and moussaka. Or Al-Bustan: a good contender, and it seems to have been around forever.

 

But what about Byblos? Older than Al Bustan even (it opened in Murray Hill in 1990; re-opened at its current location in 2012)? I admit, I'd overlooked it. It was my first visit when I accepted an invitation to dine as their guests last week, my second when I returned a few days later on my own dime (unrecognized).

 

Byblos is owned by Sabeh Kachou--a serene, watchful presence in the dining room--and his wife Sonia. Chef Kachou came to New York from Lebanon aged eighteen; the couple's knowledge of Lebanese cuisine, and the subtle differences in the cooking of the countries in the region, is evident. The menu's structure is relatively simple: two very long lists of small plates, hot and cold, then grilled meats and fish, salad, dessert.


Hey, what happened to mezes anyway? In this world of "small plates," where every cuisine--from Japanese to Italian--is awakwardly claimed to offer tapas--how did the Middle Eastern custom of grazing on countless titbits while sipping Raki or local wine get overlooked? I remember glorious meals in Istanbul, tables loaded with saucers of this and that--calf's brains, tabbouleh, rainbow-colored dips; perhaps a perfunctory kebab to follow.

 

With a lengthy choice of hot and cold mezes on the menu (most around $8 to $10; anything more expensive seems comfortably to feed two), and a list of small estate Lebanese wines, Byblos strongly commends itself as a small plates experience. My second visit was to the bar, to eat just that way. It's (relatively) new location is capacious, stretching in an L-shape from a West 28th Street entrance to the main entrance on Madison Avenue. The high-ceilinged dining room is restfully decorated--Jerusalem stone pillars and original art work, but refreshingly not a hint of kasbah kitsch--and the tables are widely spaced.

 

At the first dinner we started with some of those mezes--far and away the highlight of the dinner. This may seem hyberbolic, but I don't know that I've ever had a better baba ghannouj--rich, smoky, accented with the sweet-acidic crunch of pomegranate seeds. As good, the muhammara, which presents as a simple red pepper dish, but gives way on the palate to the lingering flavor of crushed walnuts. Hommus [sic] is offered with pine nuts or meat, but ours arrived dressed simply with oil and lemon juice.

 

Pita was house-made and hot, and a tray of radishes, olives, and peppers finished the spread. I'd like to sample the pies more widely too--spinach, meat, cheese or zaatar (sesame and herbs)--and the cheeses. More unusual was the kibbee presentation. I'm familiar enough with kibbee, essentially a ground lamb and bulgur meatball, not to mention the Dominican version, quipe. But I've never before had it served in a silky yoghurt sauce: a subtle complement. 

 

Seafood or kebobs represent the two entrée directions if the mezes aren't enough. Chicken, lamb, and kafta kebobs were dramatically presented on fierce skewers. But again my attention was seized by the small plate accompaniment, a really fresh, sparky tabboule, heavy on the parsley, light on the tomato, and fit to be eaten on its own or with--as I did--some scraps of pita. The kebobs were just fine, but you'd do as well in some of the city's Turkish restaurants, not to mention that special Palestinian venue in Bay Ridge, Tanoreen.

 

And one more surprise to finish: home-made knafeh. New to me, so I can't tell you how good a rendition this is, although it's surely authentic. Described as a sort of Lebanese cheesecake, it's a sort of soft disc of cheese, mixed with crisp noodles, and topped with pistachio. And it's not, as you might expect, highly sweetened in baklava fashion.

 

I did get to grips with pies and cheese when I returned to graze at the bar. I do recommend this as an operation for two people: the more interesting wines on the list are available by the bottle--the glass options fairly limited (although it's a full bar)--and some of the mezes are make best sense shared.

 

For example, the kibbee naye, a weighty mass of subtly seasoned raw lamb, textured with grains of bulgur and scented with fresh mint. This is terrific (it comes with a jug of EVOO for moistening), but there's enough for four people to get a decent taste. Shankleesh too was generously served. Cubes of creamy, aged cheese are tossed with crunchy onion and notably fresh pieces of tomato, ideal for wrapping in warm pita. I admit, I ate almost all of this myself.

 

And at last the pies, spinach, light and fluffy, and also featuring onion, walnut, and--most noticeably--pine nut. These were clearly baked to order, and as a general rule you won't be rushed here. Busy weekends may be different, but on weeknights two servers (supported by the proprietors) take care of the large dining room and the bar. This isn't a place to be in a hurry.

 

We had some spicy fries too, so why not admit it? Only mildly spicy, but crisp, and good with a squeeze of lemon. To drink, a fruity Bekaa Valley Pinot Noir, and something I strongly recommend with this food, a Lebanese Pale Ale, "961," herbed, malty and slightly sweet.

 

Two people can eat a lot from the meze menu for $50. Grills and seafood dishes are mostly in the twenties.

 

 

 

  • Baba ghannouj 494858
  • Hommos 494859
  • Spinach pies 494860
  • raw lamb kibbee 494861
  • Shankleesh 494862
  • Knafeh 494863

Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!  

 

Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

You may think that Byblos is a Greek restaurant, but it is in fact Lebanese, taking its name from a city in Lebanon that is a popular tourist destination. This place, opened in the Flatiron district in 2012 by Executive Chef Sabeh and his wife Sonia Kachouh is an offshoot of their original restaurant opened in 1990 in Murray Hill, but unfortunately destroyed by a fire years later.

 

Executive Chef Sabeh Kachouh and his wife Sonia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Executive Chef Sabeh Kachouh and his wife Sonia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

You might not be astonished by the decor that is fairly simple, but Byblos is all about food and the atmosphere that Sonia and Sabeh created: casual and warm. In fact, you may even see Sabeh sit at the table with regulars or making sure that the patrons enjoy their meal and have everything they need.

 

Bar at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Bar at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Dining room at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Dining room at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

At the entrance is the marble and cherry wood and marble bar and then, in the back, is the large dining room that accommodates 90 diners and more if rearranged, the tables having enough space between them. 

Menu wise, it was a feast and Sonia and Sabeh made sure we would have a memorable experience. As we sat, they first brought us some a platter with pickled turnip, carrots, peppers and radicchio.

 

Pickled vegetables at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Pickled vegetables at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Pickled carrots at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Pickled carrots at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Pickled turnip at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Pickled turnip at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Peppers at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Peppers at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Then, we started the meal with Tabboule. It is different from most of the Tabboule you see, as not made with couscous, but bulgur as well as parsley, tomato, onion in lemon and olive oil dressing.

 

Tabboule at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Tabboule at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

This was a very refreshing dish, even better with arak, an anise alcohol very similar to the French anisette, that they poured similar to the way I have seen mint tea being poured.

 

Arak at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Arak at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Arak at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Arak at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Arak at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Arak at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Then came the appetizers that we all tried to photograph, more or less at the same time, but still with courtesy, all of us making sure that we would not start eating unless everybody took photos.

 

Appetizers at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Appetizers at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Hummus with meat (with seasoned ground lamb and pine nuts):

 

Hummus with meat at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Hummus with meat at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baba Ghannouj (deliciously smokey):

 

Baba Ghannouj at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baba Ghannouj at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Falafel:

 

Byblos Restaurant

 

Zaatar pies (thyme, sesame, olive oil and sumac, baked on homemade pita):

 

Zaatar pies at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Zaatar pies at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Vegetarian grape leaves:

 

Grape leaves at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Grape leaves at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Muhammara (spicy red pepper dip mixed with rice and chick peas):

 

Muhammara at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Muhammara at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

This one, I cannot remember the name, but it was beans cooked with olive oil and garlic. Sonia explained at that point that lots of Middle Eastern dishes are close, but prepared slightly differently. She mentioned for instance that this dish was cooked with cumin in Syria, but not in Lebanon.

 

Beans at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Beans at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Batata Harra (potatoes with chopped cilantro, garlic and pepper):

 

Batata harra at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Batata harra at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Kibbee Krass (ground lamb and bulgur):

 

Kibbee Krass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Kibbee Krass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Cheese Rikakat (phyllo pastry filled with haloumi cheese):

 

Cheese Rikakat at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Cheese Rikakat at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Loubie Bil Zeit (string beans with tomato, garlic, onion and olive oil):

 

Loubie Bil Zeit at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Loubie Bil Zeit at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Fattoush salad, made with mixed greens and eaten with their homemade pita:

 

Fattoush salad at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Fattoush salad at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

So, I mentioned few times their homemade pita: I mean, it is a must have and I had to restrain myself from eating the whole basket.

 

Homemade pita at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Homemade pita at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Homemade pita at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Homemade pita at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

To accompany the appetizers, I had a glass of Lebanese white wine, a Massaya 2014 (70% of Byblos wine list is Lebanese wine):

 

Massaya wine from Lebanon at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Massaya wine from Lebanon at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

You would think that the meal ended there, but no, we had yet to try the entrées as well as one more appetizer (I should have worn my stretch pants)...

 

Dishes at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Dishes at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baked Kibbee (stuffed lamb and bulgur):

 

Baked kibbee at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baked kibbee at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baked kibbee at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baked kibbee at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Then, our first entrée was stuffed zucchini with hot yogurt sauce (it was stuffed with rice and lamb):

 

Stuffed zucchini at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Stuffed zucchini at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Stuffed zucchini at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Stuffed zucchini at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Then, we had grilled striped bass (perfectly cooked I have to say):

 

Grilled stripped bass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Grilled stripped bass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Grilled striped bass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Grilled striped bass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

The last one was a mixed grill composed of shish kebob (lamb), shish taouk (chicken) and kata kebob (beef). It was served with rice and peas.

 

Mixed grill at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Mixed grill at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

With the entrées, I drank a glass of red Lebanese wine (Les Terroirs, Domaine Wardy 2012):

 

Les Terroirs Domaine Wardy at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Les Terroirs Domaine Wardy at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Les Terroirs Domaine Wardy at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Les Terroirs Domaine Wardy at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

For desserts, we got their homemade baklava as well as a homemade Mouhalabia (milk pudding):

 

Baklava and Mouhalabia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baklava and Mouhalabia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baklava and Mouhalabia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

Baklava and Mouhalabia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York

 

This ended the meal perfectly. I had such a good time at Byblos and the food was fantastic: Chef Kachouh crafted a succulent menu with flavors that will transport you miles away from the time of your dinner. This is the perfect place if you want some exotic dishes that are perfect for sharing and, if you are vegetarian, they have plenty of choices.

Enjoy (I did)!

If you like this post, the photos or the blog, please feel free to share it or post a comment. Merci!

  • Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205672
  • Executive Chef Sabeh Kachouh and his wife Sonia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205673
  • Bar at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205674
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  • Appetizers at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205684
  • Hummus with meat at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205685
  • Baba Ghannouj at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205686
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  • Zaatar pies at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205688
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  • Batata harra at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205692
  • Kibbee Krass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205693
  • Cheese Rikakat at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205694
  • Loubie Bil Zeit at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205695
  • Fattoush salad at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205696
  • Homemade pita at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205697
  • Homemade pita at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205698
  • Massaya wine from Lebanon at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205699
  • Dishes at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205700
  • Baked kibbee at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205701
  • Baked kibbee at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205702
  • Stuffed zucchini at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205703
  • Stuffed zucchini at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205704
  • Grilled stripped bass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205705
  • Grilled striped bass at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205706
  • Mixed grill at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205707
  • Les Terroirs Domaine Wardy at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205708
  • Les Terroirs Domaine Wardy at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205709
  • Baklava and Mouhalabia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205710
  • Baklava and Mouhalabia at Byblos, Lebanese restaurant in NYC, New York 205711

Byblos Restaurant NYC

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Byblos, Nomad/ Flatiron, NYC

DSC03152

 

Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest to this establishment for a complimentary meal. All opinions expressed in this post are my own

 

It is really quite hard to get a great Lebanese meal in Manhattan but after trying Byblos, I have had a complete change in heart.

 

I was recently invited to a press dinner, where I was treated to beautifully expressed Lebanese food by the husband /wife restaurateur team of Sabeh and Sonia Kachouh.

 

At Byblos the menu is crafted with delightful, home style dishes that are made from family recipes handed down generations.

 

Sabeh and Sonia are veterans having successfully run Byblos at their earlier Murray Hill location for over two decades until a fire destroyed the restaurant. This led to the re-birth of the brand new Byblos in its new home where it maintains all of what made it so beloved in its old locale.

 

My favorite part of the meal was the appetizers. I should have known better but I just could not stop myself from dipping bits of fresh, hot, airy pita bread in super smooth “Hummus”, tangy “Muhammurra” and one of the best “Baba Ghannouj” I have tried recently.

 

I’m not a huge “Kibbee” fan because most places make these meat kebabs really dry but all I can say about their “Kibbee with Hot Yogurt Sauce” is OMG! I have never tried anything quite like it – tender meatballs made with seasoned ground lamb. It is a MUST try.

 

I could have (rather should have) stopped right after the appetizers but there was so much more to come. We went on to sample a super fresh “Tabboule” with a zesty, tangy dressing. We also were treated to a host of entrees, which ranged from a mixed grill of kebabs to rice and vegetables.

 

The only disappointing dish at Byblos was the Knafeh, which had too much cheese and not enough crunch to it. Not my favorite version of one of my beloved Middle Eastern desserts. I would have loved to sample more of their homemade desserts but have to leave something for next time.

 

Byblos has a great collection of Lebanese wines which is rare – the Massaya brand is exceptional and definitely worth a try. Happy hour is available from 5 to 7 pm Monday through Friday. The restaurant comes alive on Saturday nights with  live music and belly dancing from 9:30 pm to 1:30 am.

 

I highly recommend Byblos. I think it now might just be one of my new favorite Lebanese spots in the city!

 

Here is some of what we ate:

 

Mixed Pickled Vegetables DSC03167   Pita Bread DSC03153   Hommus Bi Tahini DSC03155DSC03157   Baba Ghannouj DSC03158DSC03162   Muhammara DSC03195   Tabboule DSC03174   Kibbee with Hot Yogurt Sauce  DSC03172DSC03177DSC03191   Mixed Grill DSC03193DSC03190DSC03203 Sautéed Peas DSC03220    Knafeh Byblos Restaurant
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Byblos

    • 3.0

Note: I was invited as a guest of the establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and opinions expressed are my own.

 

Byblos Owners NYC

Owners Sabeh and Sonia Kachouh

 

In New York, Middle Eastern food is generally associated with street meat carts and casual falafel & kebab joints. While I have no beef with these inexpensive mainstays of the local diet, this region has much more to offer on the food front. This is on full display at Byblos, where Lebanese owners Sonia and Sabeh Kachouh offer an upscale Mediterranean dining experience that will change the way you think about Middle Eastern cuisine.

 

Enter Byblos and you find yourself surrounded by palm trees, terrazzo tiled floors and Jerusalem stone columns that transport to the Medieterrenan resort town from which the restaurant gets its name.  White table cloths, ivory walls and the soft sounds of Lebanese music in the background add to a charming yet relaxing vibe. On Saturday night things pick up when live bands and belly dancers come in beginning at 9:30. The wine list also stays true to the region with 70% of Lebanese origin. We were served a Massaya and Domaine Wardy Les Terroirs, and both impressed.

 

When it comes to the food, the menu ranges from fan favorite mezze (dips) to local specialties you’ve likely never seen before. All the of dips were among the best renditions I’ve ever had. They offer a $6 mezze and Lebanese wine happy hour from 5-7 which make this a perfect place for a drink and bite after work. They also offer delivery, which would have been great when I worked many nights through dinner a few blocks down the street. But make sure to grab a sit down meal here too for a full-on Lebanese feast with first rate hospitality.

 

Some of my favorites are below. As this was a tasting event, portions are larger than normal.

 

Hummus, Byblos, Nomad, Lebanese, NYCHommos with Meat (2/4 stars) Creamy hummus with a sprinkling of lamb and pine nuts. This is how hummus is meant to be done.

 

Byblos, Nomad, Lebanese, NYCBaba Ghannouj 2.5/4 stars I actually thought this was the hummus when it came out as it lacked the gray color I typically associate with Baba. But I now know this is the color you want to see. This rendition was light and smoother than usual with a great smokey flavor.

 

Byblos RestaurantVegetarian Grape Leaves (2/4 stars) Grape leaves are the old standby everybody is happy to snack on but nobody gets excited about. These are worth some excitement. They’re soft, not overstuffed with rice and nicely spiced.

 

Muhammara 2.5/4 stars Of all the Mediterranean dips that exist, why I have never seen this one before is a mystery. It’s like a spicy red pepper hummus with a nutty taste. You want it.

 

Byblos, Lebanese, Nomad, NYCFalafel 2.5/4 stars A light crispy fry covers an interior consisting only of chickpeas, coriander and garlic. These are a must order even if you don’t usually like falafel.

 

Cheese Rikakat (2/4 stars) You could stuff pretty much anything with cheese and I’ll happily eat it. But this light filo dough filled with haloumi was particularly good.

 

Byblos, Lebanese, Nomad, NYCStuffed Squash with Yogurt Sauce (2/4 stars) Sort of like the grape leaf, except instead of the leaf its a zucchini. This one comes stuffed with spiced lamb and rice in a yogurt sauce that gives it a nice comfort food quality.

 

Grilled Shish Taouk  (3/4 stars) The grilled chicken kebab is another old Middle Eastern standby that’s generally solid but not exciting. This one however was surprisingly incredible. The meat was seasoned in a way I’ve never had before – was that nutmeg? It was moist, juicy and my favorite of many excellent dishes here.

 

Byblos, Lebanese, Nomad, NYCGrilled Striped Bass 2.5/4 stars Seasoned with lemon and herbs and perfectly cooked it’s a great light alternative if you’re not feeling the meats.

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Byblos

Press dinner at Byblos yesterday.  Good company and great Lebanese fare.  Everything we tried tasted fresh and good.  Regarding their cooking style, the restaurateur and chef Sabeh Kachouh mentioned they believe in keeping it simple.  And in my opinion, that’s a testimony to these ‘simple’ preparations that bring out great flavors in foods.

Lebanese/ middle-eastern/ Persian fare never fails to disappoint me.  Here’s our dinner, in pictures and words :-)

Lebanese wine – Massaya Classic is what we had.  It’s a blend of Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Pretty well rounded and crisp.
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Crudites, some pickled.
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Vegetarian Grape Leaves
Vine leaves stuffed with rice and chickpeas
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Baba Ghannouj
Charcoal grilled eggplant with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
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Labaneh
Thick creamy yogurt with a soft cream cheese like texture, it was topped with oil and dry mint.
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Hommus Bi Tahini
Mashed chickpeas pureed with tahini, lemon and garlic. And lots of olive oil.
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Mixed Salad
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Tabboule
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Green Beans
Tender to bite, cooked with olive oil and tomatoes, served cold.
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Falafel
These small, deep fried balls made of crushed chick peas and coriander served with tahini sauce were one of the nicer ones I’ve eaten – crisp on the outside, soft inside.
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Cheese Rikakat
Filo pastry filled with halloumi cheese, deep fried.  I liked them a lot.  The pastry sheets were thin. Not a fan, but these were pretty good.
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Zaatar Pies
Homemade dough sprinkled with thyme, sesame, olive oil and sumac.
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Batata Harra
Drenched in oil, these potato pieces, tossed with chopped cilantro, garlic, and pepper tasted superb.
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Stewed Okra
Okra stewed with tomato sauce served.  The okra, they said they import from Egypt.  And though it was frozen, it was still tender to bite.  Even unlike the fresh ones you get here.  How I miss my ‘bhindi’.
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Vermicelli Rice Pilaf
One bite of it and I knew it was done in ghee.  This tasted excellent.  On inquiry, I learnt that they used Uncle Ben’s rice.  It was definitely heartier (to eat) than basmati.  Once again, it confirmed my notion that ghee brings out wonders in almost everything.  I am talking vegetarian, of course.  The rice reminded me of this Persian place on the upper east side that I’d been to, over a couple of years ago.  Simple & classic.  You know you’re in good hands if you’re raving so much about their rice ;-)
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Grilled Vegetables
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Desserts: Pudding & Baklava
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The Lebanese/ Middle Eastern music playing in the restaurant was perfect for the evening.  I find that music quite energizing and uplifting.

The service was warm and friendly and the amiable owners, Sabeh and Sonia and patiently addressed all our questions.

The place seats about 90.  Nice collection of wines (they have a full bar).  Good food and lots of variety.  Add to it live music and belly dancing.  How does that sound for a festive Saturday night with a bunch of friends or family?

 

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Byblos

 

Press Tasting Dinner

 

Byblos is a family-owned modern Lebanese restaurant, located in the Nomad/Flatiron area. The dining room is fairly spacious with a contemporary look and feel. All of the food is exceptionally good, along with a very nice Lebanese wine list. There really aren’t many places in New York City doing what Byblos does – serving up delicious, modern Lebanese cuisine. So without a doubt, add it to the list. 

 

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Fattoush (Byblos Special): This is the specialty salad topped with toasted pita. Though very simple, I thought this was a really fresh, flavorful salad. I particularly loved that there was radish included in the salad. 

 

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Fresh Pita, Baba Ghannouj (charcoal grilled eggplant, tahini, olive oil, garlic lemon juice)

 

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Hummus: Really fresh and creamy!

 

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Labaneh: This is a thick creamy cheese topped with oil and dry mint and served as a dip. It’s very reminiscent to a yogurt dip and quite delicious.

 

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Vegetarian Grape Leaves: I’ve only just recently discovered that I love grape leaves. And these were no exception. They were stuffed with rice and chickpeas and were just really great and flavorful.

 

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Kibbee Krass: Stuffed oval shaped nuggets of ground lamb and burghul. These were like meat falafels. The lamb in this dish, as well as throughout the meal, was really well flavored.

 

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Batata Harra: Delicious seasoned potatoes

 

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Cheese Rikakat: Filo pastry filled with halloumi cheese, deep fried. 

 

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Sausage (Mahaknik): Homemade Lebanese lamb sausage that is not to be overlooked. The picture really doesn’t do it much justice, but these little sausages were packed with such great flavor. It was one of my favorite plates of the night.

 

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Falafel: The falafel was quite good – it had nice flavor and wasn’t dry – and I’m quite the falafel snob. 

 

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Tabboule: Standard tabboule made of parsley, tomato, onion and burghul.

 

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Mixed Grill: This was a skewer assortment of lamb, chicken and beef, served with rice and vegetables. All the meats were cooked perfectly and were simply spiced and flavored. The rice was actually rave-worthy. Though again very simple, it was salty and buttery and flavored to perfect. 

 

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Grilled Branzini Fish: A grilled whole fish (also served with rice and vegetables), it arrives at the table as so, and is then opened up for eating. The fish was fresh, simple and good.

 

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Homemade Baklawa and Mouhalabia (milk pudding)

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Byblos Restaurant NYC

Crispness of these falafels tho..

Crispness of these falafels tho..

  • Crispness of these falafels tho.. 596523

Byblos Restaurant NYC

A sampling of the many mezze at last nights Lebanese feast. Definitely some of the best falafel and

A sampling of the many mezze at last nights Lebanese feast. Definitely some of the best falafel and grape leaves I've had.

  • A sampling of the many mezze at last nights Lebanese feast. Definitely some of the best falafel and  206761

Byblos Restaurant NYC

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Byblos Restaurant NYC

Three different types of kebab Amazing authentic Lebanese restaurant on Madison Avenue  nyc

Three different types of kebab Amazing authentic Lebanese restaurant on Madison Avenue nyc

  • Three different types of kebab Amazing authentic Lebanese restaurant on Madison Avenue  nyc 448401

Byblos Restaurant NYC

ok ok new obsession: Zaatar Pie: the perfect blend of thyme, sesame, olive oil and sumac. Baked on h

ok ok new obsession: Zaatar Pie: the perfect blend of thyme, sesame, olive oil and sumac. Baked on homemade dough! food

  • ok ok new obsession: Zaatar Pie: the perfect blend of thyme, sesame, olive oil and sumac. Baked on h 250395

Byblos Restaurant NYC

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Byblos Restaurant NYC

Tabbouleh - authentic Lebanese chopped salad Fresh tomatoes, onions, and parsley simply flavored wit

Tabbouleh - authentic Lebanese chopped salad Fresh tomatoes, onions, and parsley simply flavored with lemon & olive oil

Crispness of these falafels tho..

  • Tabbouleh - authentic Lebanese chopped salad Fresh tomatoes, onions, and parsley simply flavored wit 419198

Byblos Restaurant NYC

Delicious hummus with meat and homemade pita bread at the authentic Lebanese restaurant

Delicious hummus with meat and homemade pita bread at the authentic Lebanese restaurant

  • Delicious hummus with meat and homemade pita bread at the authentic Lebanese restaurant 417048

Byblos Restaurant NYC

Tabbouleh - authentic Lebanese chopped salad Fresh tomatoes, onions, and parsley simply flavored wit

Tabbouleh - authentic Lebanese chopped salad Fresh tomatoes, onions, and parsley simply flavored with lemon & olive oil

Crispness of these falafels tho..

Crispness of these falafels tho..

  • Tabbouleh - authentic Lebanese chopped salad Fresh tomatoes, onions, and parsley simply flavored wit 389775
  • Crispness of these falafels tho.. 389776

Byblos Restaurant NYC

Three different types of kebab Amazing authentic Lebanese restaurant on Madison Avenue  nyc

Three different types of kebab Amazing authentic Lebanese restaurant on Madison Avenue nyc

  • Three different types of kebab Amazing authentic Lebanese restaurant on Madison Avenue  nyc 389394

Byblos Restaurant NYC

Delicious hummus with meat and homemade pita bread at the authentic Lebanese restaurant

Delicious hummus with meat and homemade pita bread at the authentic Lebanese restaurant

  • Delicious hummus with meat and homemade pita bread at the authentic Lebanese restaurant 238336

Byblos Restaurant NYC

Happy Holidays! "Making the world beautiful one face at a time"

    #MrCorporate

Happy Holidays! "Making the world beautiful one face at a time" #MrCorporate

Happy Holidays!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

  • Happy Holidays! "Making the world beautiful one face at a time"

    #MrCorporate 658781
  • Happy Holidays!!! 658782

Information of Byblos Restaurant

Location
80 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016
Cross Street
28th St & 29th St in Flatiron
Phone Number
(212) 687-0808
Category
Mediterranean / Middle Eastern / Seafood
Average Price
$30 - $49 | Dinner
Business Hours
Sun:12:00PM - 10:00PM
Mon:11:30AM - 10:00PM
Tue:11:30AM - 10:00PM
Wed:11:30AM - 10:00PM
Thu:11:30AM - 10:00PM
Fri:11:30AM - 1:00AM
Sat:12:00PM - 1:00AM
Dress code
Casual
Reservation
Yes
Wheelchair accessible
Yes
Credit cards
Yes
Outdoor dining
No
Delivery
Yes
Takeout
Yes
Caters
Yes
Website
map

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