Byblos -- Federal Hill
I've been keeping this new Lebanese place secret for long enough. Courtney and I have been to this new restaurant about five or six times now, and frankly, we love it. It's our new take out go-to.
Right next door to Trattoria Anna Maria on Light Street, it's owned by a husband and wife team who are making everything fresh except the bread. The menu is small -- a couple of kinds of shawarma, falafel, kebbeh, and a variety of sides.
My personal favorites are the kebbeh -- bulghur, lamb and spices either fried or baked until golden. They seem to do it a couple of ways -- one as little balls that are fried to a golden brown, the other as a baked casserole. The ball version is the best, but both are delicious. Chicken shawarma is moist and tender, although the beef version is kind of forgettable.
Be sure to ask about the specials. They do daily versions of off-menu dishes. One, a spicy fish dish with chickpeas, was incredible, although another with salmon, crab and shrimp was good but not memorable.
They will allow you a taste of any dish you think you might like.
The sides are amazing. Babagahannouj comes in two kinds -- regular and country style with roasted red pepper. A country style hummus that also contains roasted red pepper is amazing. And the tabbouleh is simply the freshest and best I have ever tasted. Stuffed grape leaves are also delicious, if a bit on the oily side.
Most dishes come as either a sandwich or as a platter with two sides. Prices are all under $10.
There is one table in the front by the window and a couple of others in the back -- most of their business is takeout. They are very proud of their food, and have a right to be.