Taste of Buffalo newcomers: Byblos Restaurant & Bar
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • June 23, 2011 @ 10:42am
From now until the Taste of Buffalo finally arrives on July 9 and 10, we’ll preview the event’s 12 newcomers, detailing their signature dishes and understanding why they decided to participate.
Byblos Restaurant & Bar in Getzville injects a Mediterranean flair into this year’s Taste of Buffalo. Specializing in Lebanese cuisine—a fare more common to local sandwich shops than full-blown restaurants—Byblos will serve three dishes at the premier Buffalo food event: a falafel sandwich (two sizes, 8 and 4 tickets), baklava (4 tickets) and the health-conscious grape leaves (two sizes, 7 and 4 tickets).
Sami Abilmona, owner of Byblos for 12 years, explained that he finally decided to enter his restaurant “mainly for exposure.” The signature dish he’s offering, the falafel sandwich, is a Lebanese staple. Abilmona describes it as a “poor man’s meat,” blending beans and several Mediterranean spices inside of a pita. The Byblos menu describes the sandwich as “three freshly fried falafel patties rolled in a loaf of pita bread with lettuce, tomato, parsley, pickles, and topped with tahini sauce.” According to reviewers at Bill Rapaport’s Buffalo Restaurant Guide, the falafel has been scrumptious for years.
The dessert option, baklava, is well known to Westerners as well. Thin, crispy Phyllo dough, nuts, butter and sugar form an intensely sweet dish—Abilmona, however, raves about the syrup that’s poured over the dessert. At the restaurant, variations of baklava are available, including basma, burma, lady fingers and traditional baklava. The traditional will be offered at ToB.
For the healthy choice, Byblos presents grape leaves—instead of a fried filling, however, Abilmona explains that they’ll be stuffed with cracked wheat, high in fiber, iron and protein. It also provides a pleasant crunch, we hear. From his menu, mint, lemon juice, vegetables and olive oil fill out the health-conscious offering.
Because it’s the lone Lebanese booth in the Taste of Buffalo, startle your senses with an unfamiliar—but intriguing—cuisine.