New York transplants, rejoice! Southern California's first ever Halal Guys is just a week away from opening in Costa Mesa. The Big Apple's own Midtown Lunch made a 50 minute trek to get an early look at the Orange County brick-and-mortar branch of the famed street cart. So what are the big takeaways?
The menu is the same as New York's, but with a few additions.
While the original cart in Midtown and the brick-and-mortar locations only offer gyro sandwiches (which no one in the know actually orders) and the go-to chicken, gyro, and rice plates with a healthy slathering of white sauce, the Costa Mesa location has expanded its offerings. Here there's falafel, fries, hummus, baba ghanouj, tahini, and even baklava for dessert.
The plates are more expensive than the original.
There's no doubt a large part of the appeal of the original Halal Guys cart was the rock bottom price. For $5, Midtowners and late night revelers could get a hearty plate of the gut-busting stuff. Although the price eventually increased to $6 and now $7, The Halal Guys Costa Mesa comes in at $8.95 for the original size and $7.95 for a new, smaller size. Because of, you now, rent and stuff.
But it tastes just as good.
Just like in New York, the rice is bright orange and dry to soak up the sauce, piles of chicken are left on the griddle, and the gyro tastes exactly the same.
The famous white sauce comes in packets!
There's no debating that the white sauce is the most important component of The Halal Guys. Franchise company Fransmart standardized the production of the stuff, and contained it neatly in little packets, nutrition facts and all. That means we now know each packet of the mayonnaise-based sauce only contains 50 calories, allowing for reduced-guilt drenching.
It is pretty damn great, even when not inebriated.
Sure, The "Famous" Halal Guys is New York's answer to LA's late night tacos, and just as the offerings from LA's better taco trucks are undeniably delicious even when not used to soak up a night of excess, The Halal Guys' chicken and rice makes for a great quick lunch.
Remember, The Halal Guys doesn't officially open until October 2, so don't make any Orange County street meat ventures quite yet.
The Halal Guys Costa Mesa
3033 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA