The Halal Guys, a famous food cart from New York City, recently opened a location in Costa Mesa, Orange County. I couldn’t wait to visit.
For 25 years, The Halal Guys have operated only in NYC, but have become quite popular. It’s always been on my to-do list, but with so many things to eat in NYC, I’ve never had a chance to visit. This year, they began their global expansion. They plan on opening 200 locations worldwide. Costa Mesa is one of the first locations to open, with several others planned in California. They are also opening several locations in Asia and a location in Manila, Phillippines location opened last week.
From what I heard, during the opening week, wait times were 3-4 hours. We visited the second weekend they were open and while the wait was still long, it wasn’t nearly as bad. It took us an hour from when we got in line, to when we finished paying for our food. Inside, the staff was working quite efficiently and they also put a 2 order limit for each customer to help keep the line moving.
The restaurant interior is red and yellow, reflecting their logo colors. There are a handful of tables for those who want to dine-in, but most people got their food to-go. The menu is pretty simple and after you order, the food is quickly put together along the assembly line.
The Halal Classic
We stuck with their signature dish,The Halal Classic, which is a platter filled with rice, salad, half chicken and half gyro. The platter is then topped with a generous amount of white sauce and a little bit of hot sauce. Their white sauce is so popular that they actually sell packets of it. On the urging of our friends, we got a packet. It’s similar to a mayonnaise, but not as thick and with other seasonings.
Here’s a photo of one of our friend’s plates.
So how was the dish? We loved it. When taken apart, there is nothing spectacular about any of the elements. It’s not the best gyro I’ve ever eaten, etc. But the rice, chicken and gyro are all executed well and the combination (along with the white sauce) is extremely addicting. The minute I finished eating mine, I was already craving another. And according to my friends who have had it in NYC, it tasted just like the original.
As for the extra sauce, I definitely didn’t need it for my plate. I will, however, be using it for something else and plan on reverse engineering it.
Hopefully the wait times will get better. We will definitely be coming back. We had this a week ago and I’ve been thinking about it every single day since. I’m pretty sure this is going to become part of our regular rotation of food stops in Orange County.
The Halal Guys
3033 Bristol St, Suite E, Costa Mesa, CA 92626