I’ve been hearing about Byblos for some time now with superlatives galore and have been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to indulge in its flavors. While I have been Fay’s +1 a few times at other tastings, this was my first, in an official capacity, as Wanna Fork’s newest blogger… and what a way to start off!
“Byblos End of Summer Tea Party”… Hmmm… That had me musing about the possibility that Byblos originated in Boston or Long Island… Fortunately, when the beautiful Moroccan tea platters came out, I knew that I was in for more than a trip down the northeast memory lane. I felt like Ali Baba for a moment, living a story from “One Thousand and One Nights”. Perhaps I had judged too quickly? Ok, let’s wind back the Bourdain and get to the reason I was there in the first place – the flavors!…
Weaving in and out of the Cold Tea Service, many samplings of Byblos’ food were brought out and paired nicely with the drinks. The Tuna Ceviche came on Squid ink Chips, topped with a Buttermilk Crème Fraîche combined with Green Schug, a flavorful Yemenite Chile Relish. The Chug really added a depth of flavor that launched this past the usual Tuna Ceviche one has grown accustomed to. This was followed by a Grass Fed Steak Tartare on Barbari Bread, a thick Persian Flatbread, topped with Roasted Red Chili, mint, and Labneh, a Middle Eastern Yogurt “Cheese” (ultra-strained and lightly salty, it certainly does remind you of cheese). I enjoyed the steak and took note of its texture – really smooth. The grass fed beef really stood out and made you take notice.
We moved on to Wood Fired Pide’s next. A Pide is basically a Pizza with a Turkish flair… and lots of butter for flavor. These were some of the real standouts of the night for me. We started of with aCreamed Spinach Pide with Feta Cheese, Toum (a garlic sauce from Egypt), and Dukkah (An Egyptian spice blend of toasted nuts and seeds – look for it at Trader Joes’s – it is great to have at home). Unfortunately, I managed to bite into one side and have the other side squirt out onto my pants, but being a foodie has its risks! ? The Maitake Mushroom Pide, which I ate with more care (thus more filling in my mouth as opposed to my pant – tastes great and less filling!) had an amazing flavor to it and had me wanting more. The little kick of heat, with a tangy, raisin-y taste of Biber Chile and the Goat Cheese melded well together as it boosted the flavor of the Maitake Mushrooms (also know as Hen-of-the-woods). The real standout of the “Pide Party” though, was the Black Truffle Pide. Fair warning: you could put truffle on anything and I would love it.. however, Byblos paired it with fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Halloumi (a semi-hard unwrapped brined cheese from Cyprus made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk). I could have had an entire serving tray of this one – but somehow, I missed out on this till the end and only got a single, solitary piece , much to my chagrin… I know what I will be ordering first next time!
The atmosphere, the food, the music (excellent sound system), staff, and of course the drinks, made for an amazing night and I suggest you give Byblos a try as soon as you can!
Byblos Miami Beach
1545 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
All photos are courtesy of Byblos Miami.