Quick plug for ourselves: It’s time for Fresh Toast! Last year, we launched our brunch event to highlight the best and booziest meals Orange County offers. The inaugural Fresh Toast not only sold out, but it was also a filling success, with everyone from Clay Oven to Anepalco to Memphis Cafe to high-end spots to holes-in-the-wall offering customers all-you-can-eat yummies at Newport Dunes. This year’s edition is going to be better, and tickets are going fast, so buy them TODAY via microapp.ocweekly.com/fresh-toast/2017. We WILL sell out, and we want you there!
And now to Byblos Mediterranean Grill. It’s always a dicey proposition to run an ethnic restaurant in an industrial area—and by “ethnic,” nowadays, I’m of course not talking about Mexican or Chinese restaurants. This Lebanese spot is just off the 91 freeway where Anaheim turns into Anaheim Hills, in an industrial-park wasteland among medical plazas. Whatever customers it gets are the kind on regimented lunch breaks, usually wearing a name badge or uniform—not exactly people looking for adventurous grub in their half-hour of freedom.
But Byblos tries to be more than just a grub station. Photos of archaeological sights in Lebanon, untouched by civil strife, hang on the walls. Every lunch-plate special comes with tabbouleh, the better to entice people to venture beyond hummus. The rice is sweeter than what the American palate prefers and comes strewn with vermicelli noodles for texture. And the pita isn’t the usual fluffy stuff customers might see at Trader Joe’s; it’s thinner, something more akin to a wheat tortilla.
Luscious kebabs, shawerma and falafels are basically it for the menu, save for the arayiss, a sort of cheese-free Lebanese quesadilla with ground beef that would taste better with a ramekin of toum—but Byblos ain’t that type of place yet. There’s untapped potential here, but a more traditional Lebanese menu won’t emerge until customers start demanding it—so demand it. In the meanwhile, load up on Byblos’ combo plates—and buy your Fresh Toast tickets, gentle cabrones.
Byblos Mediterranean Grill, 1071 N. Tustin Ave., Ste. 110, Anaheim, (714) 575-0076; www.byblosgrill.com.